The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Best Buy, Apple, Microsoft, Macy's and Gap

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Best Buy, Apple, Microsoft, Macy's and Gap

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, June 27, 2013

CHICAGO, June 27, 2013 /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 Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY-Free
Report), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report), Microsoft Corporation
(Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report), Macy's, Inc. (NYSE:M-Free Report) and The Gap, Inc.
(NYSE:GPS-Free Report).

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

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of
the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Consumer Confidence Up: A Sign of Growth?

The belief of an economic recovery might just have got stronger with consumer
confidence hitting a multi-year high. A recent report by Conference Board data
suggested the Consumer Confidence Index improved to 81.4 in Jun 2013 from a
revised 74.3 in May 2013.

The index notched its highest level since Jan 2008, when it had touched 87.3.
This prompts a sense of optimism about a steady increase in consumer spending
going forward.

A recovery in the housing market, stock prices gaining momentum and improving
labor market condition played vital roles to help the consumer confidence move
north.

According to Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development,
sales of new houses jumped 2.1% sequentially in May 2013 and surged 29% from
May 2012. Additionally, unemployment rate is currently hovering around 7.6%,
reflecting an improvement from 7.9% in the beginning of the year. Alongside,
S&P 500 has scored roughly 9%, while Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained
approximately 10% so far this year.

So, does this invoke enough confidence to say that the economy is back on
growth trajectory? Although the data on the table shows that derailed economy
is gradually making a comeback, it wouldn't be prudent to jump the gun.

Fed officials hinted at gradual rollback of $85 billion monthly stimulus
program in the later part of the year and said that they might discontinue the
program by the middle of next year if economy improves further.

Fed officials look quite optimistic about pulling the unemployment rate down
to a range of 7.2% to 7.3% in 2013 with expected economic growth of 2.3% to
2.6%. Next year they further intend to restrict the unemployment rate to
between 6.5% and 6.8%, and boost economic growth to 3% - 3.5%.

As for the broader economy, we need to wait and see whether the Fed's move is
in the right direction or the economy outcries for more. But if everything
goes well and consumer confidence further rises with improving economy, then
we could see a spur in demand with willingness to shell out more. Consumers'
confidence is a key determinant for the economy's health with consumer
spending accounting for over two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

This could prove to be a boon for retail companies, which have been actively
making efforts to win the hearts of bargain hunters. Thus, Best Buy Co. Inc.
(NYSE:BBY-Free Report) could witness more foot traffic in their stores with
consumers searching for products from bellwethers including Apple Inc.
(Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) and Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT-Free Report).
Also, look for more people shopping in stores such as Macy's, Inc.
(NYSE:M-Free Report) and The Gap, Inc. (NYSE:GPS-Free Report).

Let's hope the prevailing confidence in the air remains intact.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of
the Day pick for free.

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