Zacks.com announces the latest list of top performing Zacks #1 Rank (“strong buy”) stocks. The stocks on the prestigious list with the highest returns last week were Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE:FUN), True Religion Apparel, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRLG), Fuel Systems Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSYS), G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. (NASDAQ:GIII) and ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE:ESI). Each of these stocks easily outperformed the S&P 500.
Stocks ranked #1 (Strong Buy) by Zacks have produced an average annual return of +30% since inception in 1988. During the 2000-2002 bear market, Zacks #1 Rank stocks gained 43.8% while the S&P 500 tumbled 37.6%. To learn more about the Zacks Rank, go to http://at.zacks.com/?id=3172.
Here is a synopsis of the last week’s best performing Zacks #1 Rank stocks.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN) announced last week that 2008 revenues through Labor Day were up 3% to $852 million. In addition, attendance was also up 3% to 547,000 visits. On a same-park basis, revenues through Labor Day advanced 5%. FUN said it is cautiously optimistic that momentum during the peak vacation months of July and August will continue into the Fall season. The company reaffirmed its full-year revenue outlook of $990 million to $1.02 billion.
Shares of the regional amusement and water parks company moved forward by 6.7% last week. Earnings estimates for this year and next have improved over the past 2 months by 8.2% and 11.4%, respectively.
True Religion Apparel, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRLG) continues to perform well against a difficult economic backdrop. Shares of the premium jeans maker were up approximately 6.1% last week, which was enough to make it one of the top performing Zacks #1 Rank companies. Earnings estimates for this year and next have advanced 5.7% and 4.7%, respectively, over the past 2 months. In addition, analysts currently predict that next year’s profit will advance almost 22% from this year.
True Religion Apparel’s second-quarter performance demonstrated why this is one of the better-performing retailers at the moment. The company reported earnings per share of 39 cents early last month, marking a surprise of almost 18.2% over the consensus. Net sales jumped 79% to $64.2 million. Most encouraging in the quarter was its full-year earnings guidance, which was increased to a range between $1.61 and $1.65 from the previous guidance of $1.52 to $1.56. Net sales are now expected between $242 million and $247 million, accounting for a gain of 40% to 43% over that of 2007. TRLG also raised its targeted 2008 store count to 39 by the end of the year; up 4 stores from its previous target.
The price of oil may be well off its highs at the moment, but that hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for Fuel Systems Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSYS). Shares of the company moved forward by about 5.5% last week. Over the past 2 months, analysts have raised earnings estimates for this year by 27.5% and for next year by 31.5%. Underscoring the potential of alternative energy moving forward, analysts expect next year’s profit to soar by more than 30% over this year.
In its second quarter, which was reported in early August, FSYS announced revenue of $98.3 million, marking a 50% jump from the previous year’s $65.6 million. The company attributed this to the rapidly-expanding demand for alternatives to petroleum for fueling vehicles. Meanwhile, earnings per share topped both the consensus and year-ago result. The company also increased its 2008 consolidated revenue outlook to $350 million.
Earnings estimates for G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. (NASDAQ: GIII) have moved higher recently after the clothing retailer announced fiscal second-quarter results on Sep 9. Analyst expectations for this fiscal year and next are up 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively, over the past week. Furthermore, estimates have also moved higher from 3 months ago by 8.6% and 6%. The company was a top-performing Zacks #1 Rank last week as shares gained 5.2%.
GIII lost 23 cents per share in its fiscal second quarter, which was steeper than the year-ago loss due to recent acquisitions. However, that result was narrower than the consensus’ loss estimate by 2 cents. Net sales increased by 35% to $113.5 million from $83.9 million. The company believes it is well positioned for the second half, and expects full fiscal year net sales of approximately $730 million and earnings per share between $1.35 and $1.40.
ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE: ESI) was featured as an Aggressive Growth Stock of the Day at Zacks.com on Monday. The company made the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List for the week ended Sep 12 with shares that advanced 4.7% in a difficult week. Over the past 2 months, earnings estimates for this year are up 7.2%, while expectations for next year advanced 7.6%.
ESI reported that new student enrollment increased by 22.5% in the second quarter, while total student enrollment advanced 12.1%. These factors helped the company put together a strong performance, which included earnings per share of $1.20 that advanced year over year from 87 cents. That marked a surprise of 16.5% over the consensus. Sales improved by almost 14% to $246.4 million from $217 million. ESI also raised its EPS goal for the year. Analysts currently expect next year’s EPS to increase almost 10% from this year.
About the Zacks Rank
Since 1988, the Zacks Rank has proven that "Earnings estimate revisions are the most powerful force impacting stock prices." Since inception in 1988, #1 Rank stocks have generated an average annual return of +30%. During the 2000-2002 bear market, Zacks #1 Rank stocks gained +43.8%, while the S&P 500 tumbled -37.6%. Also note that the Zacks Rank system has just as many Strong Sell recommendations (Rank #5) as Strong Buy recommendations (Rank #1). Since 1988, Zacks Rank #5 stocks have underperformed the S&P 500 by 81% annually (+2 % vs. +11%). Thus, the Zacks Rank system allows investors to truly manage portfolio trading effectively.
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Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.