Face it, every time you fill up your car, truck or sport utility vehicle, you shake your head a little when you see the total to pay. A short two years ago, consumers were paying between $3 and $4 a gallon, and now, in many parts of the country, gasoline is around $1.50 a gallon and falling. Some on Wall Street refer to it as being similar to a tax refund. Most consumers just consider it awesome, and they have better places to put the cash instead of their vehicle fuel tanks.
Obviously when consumers have cash some is possibly saved, but much is diverted to needs and wants. The automobile industry had its biggest year ever last year, as cheap financing and lower fuel prices pushed sales. But other retailers are also expected to do well.
A new Deutsche Bank report makes numerous positive predictions for the retail sector this year. It also includes top pick stocks to buy, all of which could benefit from the additional consumer cash flow. We picked four that make the best sense for investors now.
This remains the undisputed leader in the home improvement retail category and was recently upgrade. Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,270 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. In fiscal 2014, Home Depot had sales of $83.2 billion and earnings of $6.3 billion. The company employs more than 370,000 associates.
With the current mild winter due to the El Niño effect expected to continue, some people think that can be a benefit to Home Depot and other home improvement companies. In addition, the continued strength in the housing market could also bode well for the company. Earnings per share gains consistently have been in the 15% to 20% range, and a consensus of analysts is forecasting earning increases to continue to grow at about 15% annually for another two to three years.
Home Depot investors receive a 1.95% dividend. The Deutsche Bank price target is $135, and the Thomson/First Call consensus price objective is $131.61. Shares closed most recently at $122.20.
This discount retailer continues to be a favorite with cost-conscious consumers looking for the top brands and value. Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST) operates Ross Dress for Less, the largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the United States with 1,276 locations in 34 states, the District of Columbia and Guam as of October 31, 2015. Ross offers first-quality, in-season, name brand and designer apparel, accessories, footwear and home fashions for the entire family at savings of up to 60% off department and specialty store regular prices every day.
The company also operates 172 dd’s DISCOUNTS stores in 15 states as of October 31, 2015, that feature a more moderately priced assortment of first-quality, in-season, name brand apparel, accessories, footwear and home fashions for the entire family at savings of 20% to 70% off moderate department and discount store regular prices every day.
Hit hard on earnings disappointment in November, the stock has rallied back nicely but is still offering investors an outstanding entry point.
Ross investors are paid a small 0.9% dividend. Deutsche Bank has a $60 price target, and the consensus target is $56.76. The stock closed Tuesday at $54.33.