The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Lululemon, Apple, Coach, Tiffany and Gap

 The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Lululemon, Apple, Coach, Tiffany and Gap

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Dec. 7, 2012

CHICAGO, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Zacks.com announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Lululemon (Nasdaq:LULU), Apple
(Nasdaq:AAPL), Coach (NYSE:COH), Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) and Gap (NYSE:GPS).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Claims Reassure Ahead of Friday Report

We have another reassuring read on the nation's labor market through a
material drop in the weekly Jobless Claims data, which sets us up for the
November non-farm payroll numbers coming out tomorrow morning. This indicates
that the recent weak weakness in the labor market was mostly due to the
effects of Sandy. Elsewhere, the European Central Bank meeting produced what
the market was expecting – no changes to interest rates.

But the overriding issue for the market remains the unresolved 'Fiscal Cliff'
debate, and there is no substantive development on that front at this stage.
The opening positions from both sides appear to provide enough room for some
sort of a compromise in the coming days. But the bottom line is that there is
no 'fresh' initiative on either side to bridge the gap.

Jobless Claims dropped 25K last week to 370K. The four-week average, which
smooths out the week-to-week volatility, dropped by 2.3K to 408K. The Jobless
Claims data is not entirely where it was before Sandy distorted it (it was in
the 360K vicinity before the storm), but the storm's effects are steadily
dissipating.

Overall though, the labor market appears to be in the same shape where it has
been in the pre-Sandy months, with weekly jobless claims in the 350K to 400K
range. The monthly jobs numbers coming out Friday morning will also likely
confirm what we saw from the ADP jobs report on Wednesday. Adjusting for
Sandy, the average monthly jobs rate likely remains in the 150K neighborhood
at present. That has been the pace consistently this year.

In corporate news, Lululemon (Nasdaq:LULU) came out with better-than-expected
results for the third quarter, but its guidance for the coming quarter raise
doubts about the sustainability of its growth trajectory. The retailer of
high-end yoga pants and other women's athletic apparel guided towards
same-store sales growth in the 'high single digits' in the fourth quarter,
which is a material climb-down from the red-hot growth pace in recent
quarters.

Lululemon's sales per square foot of retail space has been in comparable
territory to such iconic brands as

Apple

(Nasdaq:

AAPL

),

Coach

(NYSE:

COH

) and

Tiffany

(NYSE:

TIF

). The high-end specialty retailer had the market all to itself for a while,
but

Gap

(NYSE:

GPS

) has been making a determined foray into that attractive market through its
Athleta brand. The location of many Athleta stores in close proximity to
Lululemon's may be just a coincidence, but there is no doubt that Gap is
targeting the same audience that has loyally followed Lululemon thus far.

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