Baird Loves These 5 Best Idea Consumer/Retail Momentum Stocks for 2017

With 2016 in the rear-view mirror, many investors are focused on ideas for 2017 and making the changes they feel will help lend a hand toward continued gains. One thing is for sure, the market is a lot more expensive than it was this time last year, and the going could be a touch more difficult. While the Trump rally has been solid and hopes are high for an improving economy, it still makes sense to stay with market leaders.

A new Baird research report includes the analysts’ top ideas for 2017, and it is an eclectic and solid group. Many of them are small or mid-cap companies, as that is a research niche the company excels in. However when it came to the top consumer and retail stocks this year, the firm went larger cap, with five of their top picks, all of which make good sense for growth portfolios with more risk tolerance.

Costco Wholesale

This has become the ultimate destination for the American consumer regardless of the economy. Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) has a unique business model: It operates membership warehouses where the company buys the majority of its merchandise directly from manufacturers, essentially cutting out the middleman. Costco sells in bulk but also at a lower price, thus fueling its rapid growth. With consumers having more free cash to spend with gasoline prices still low, this major retailer may continue to see large revenue gains.

Costco remains one of the few conventional retailers where metrics like store traffic, market share gains and a validated model that could bode well in international growth and expansion. The company is largely unharmed by e-commerce, and it continues to add stores in strategically mapped out locations.

The Baird team cites the company’s pricing authority on key items, the leading merchandising offering and the company’s relatively new Costco co-branded card with Visa as real positives. The firm also points to the company’s growing online presence.

Costco shareholders receive a 1.1% dividend. The Baird price objective for the stock is $180, and the Wall Street consensus target is $174.80 The shares closed yesterday at $163.67 apiece.

Jack in the Box

This company is a top fast-food offering for traders and investors to consider. Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) operates and franchises Jack in the Box restaurants, one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam. Additionally, through a wholly owned subsidiary, the company operates and franchises Qdoba Mexican Eats, a leader in fast-casual dining, with more than 600 restaurants in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

To counter McDonald’s all-day breakfast promotion, the company recently launched its new all-day “brunchfast” menu on September 28, 2016. The menu features items such as the bacon and egg chicken sandwich, the brunch burger and the southwest scrambler plate.

Top analysts have cited the company’s favorable California exposure, accelerating return on invested capital and opportunity to see improving same-store sales at both brands in fiscal 2017 as more balanced promotional lineup and new food news moves the needle.

Shareholders are paid a 1.48% dividend. The $125 Baird price objective compares with the consensus target of $119.50. The stock closed Tuesday at $108.17.