With Black Friday already in the rear-view mirror, Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season are upon us. This is the time of the year when most retailers and e-commerce sites make up the majority of their sales in holiday shopping and general gift giving.
Although questions involving a potential rate hike from the Federal Reserve might loom in the near future, consumers don’t seem too concerned on the broad economic strokes so much as putting presents under the tree. In fact, the National Retail Federation believes that U.S. holiday shopping is set to increase by 3.7% in the 2015 season, compared to the previous year, despite macroeconomic headwinds, including the U.S. dollar and euro approaching parity.
Accordingly, 24/7 Wall St. has picked out a few major stocks to keep an eye on in this holiday period for an assortment of reasons. Also we have included a recent trading history for the stock as well as the 52-week trading range and the consensus target from analysts.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) stands above all others in the e-commerce industry, especially at this time of year. This company has been on a roll recently with its most recent earnings report posting a profit for the first time in a while, thrilling investors and boosting the stock 11% that day alone. With Amazon locking up its operations on the bottom line, we might expect a strong push in holiday sales. Shares of Amazon closed Friday at $673.26, with a consensus analyst price target of $726.82 and a 52-week trading range of $285.25 to $682.77.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was perhaps the main focal point of the Black Friday flood of consumers. However this year, unlike years past, Wal-Mart has branched further into e-commerce sales, rounding itself out to fight against Amazon on the Internet. So far this year, the company has not done badly on this front, but these holiday sales will determine just how strong Wal-Mart’s e-commerce platform is. Shares closed Friday at $59.89, with a consensus price target of $63.63 and a 52-week range of $56.30 to $90.97.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) kicked off its Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, along with the likes of Wal-Mart and Office Depot, ahead of most retailers. In 2014, Best Buy walked away from Black Friday and Cyber Monday as perhaps the best performing retailer, and its e-commerce platform had a strong performance as well. We can only speculate what Best Buy will do this year, but if it has a repeat performance investors could be blown away. Shares of Best Buy closed Friday at $31.48, with a consensus price target of $38.94 and a 52-week range of $28.32 to $42.00.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) is the top e-commerce site out of China, and this company cannot be ignored when it comes to holiday sales. Jack Ma’s brainchild is just coming off of its “Singles Day” — imagine reverse Valentine’s Day — which had a total of $14.3 billion in gross merchandise volume processed through Alipay. Keep in mind this was just one day. With numbers like this, this company has the potential to make waves over the holiday season. Shares of Alibaba closed Friday at $95.31, with a consensus price target of $95.31 and a 52-week range of $57.20 to $111.68.
Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) rounds out this list as a higher-end version of Wal-Mart. This company has always had a strong pull with its e-commerce platform, not to mention its brick-and-mortar operations that provide a strong base for sales. Target reported its earnings in mid-November and guidance was right in the range for what analysts see as a solid fourth quarter and holiday shopping season. Shares of Target closed Friday at $73.44, with a consensus price target of $68.15 and a 52-week range of $68.15 to $85.81.