Monthly Archives: May 2016

Finish Line: Zacks’ Bear of the Day Play

Finish Line (FINLSnapshot Report) has missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last seven reports, and the misses haven’t even been close. Misses of $0.03 and $0.46 translated into a misses of 300% and 1533%. The stock is now a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) and today it is the Bear of the Day.The Numbers

FINL beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.83 by $0.03 for a 4% positive earnings surprise in the most recent quarter. Revenues came in ahead of expectations at $580M for a 1.6% positive revenue surprise.

Description

The Finish Line is a specialty retailer of athletic shoes, apparel, and accessories. The company was founded in 1976 and is based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Earnings History

Usually when a stock is the Bear of the Day, the earnings history is filled with misses. This is not the case for FINL, as there are only three misses in the last seven quarters.

Estimates

Here is the real reason the stock is a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) and the Bear of the Day. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has fallen steadily over the last few months. The FY17 estimate stood at $1.91 in December but fell to $1.69 in January and is now down to $1.54 in May.

Next year has seen estimates move from $2.11 in December to $1.74. That sort of move will send the Zacks Rank lower.

Chart

Zacks has developed a chart that helps investors see how earnings estimates have impacted the price of the stock over the last several years. We call this chart the price and consensus chart, and each color coded lines represents analyst estimates over a designated year. As estimates increase, the stock tends to follow. The Zacks Rank is impacted by earnings estimate increases, beats and incorporates the idea of analyst agreement and magnitude. As a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) we see that estimates are moving higher.

Follow Brian Bolan on twitter at @BBolan1

Brian Bolan is a Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. He is the Editor in charge of the Zacks Stocks Under $10, an investor service , where he recommends the stocks in the portfolio.

Brian also runs the brand new Zacks Game Changers where he looks for stocks that are disrupting their industries and reaping big gains.

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Silicon Motion: Zacks’ Bull of the Day Play

Silicon Motion Technology (SIMOAnalyst Report) recently beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and will report again in late July. The stock is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and today it is the Bull of the Day.The Numbers

SIMO beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.55 by $0.07 for a 12% positive earnings surprise. The topline was equally as strong with the company reporting revenues of $113M and that was $8M more than expected tofr 7.7% positive revenue surprise.

Description

Silicon Motion Technology is a fabless semiconductor company. Silicon Motion Technology was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Zhubei City, Taiwan.

Earnings History

Over the last seven quarters that I have data for, I see the company topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate six times. These were not small beats either, going back to March 2015 we saw a 21% positive earnings surprise, then a 22% surprise followed by 20% and 12%.

On the topline there are a few times with stagnant growth but the most recent quarter saw a nice lift in revenues. The company reported a 7% positive revenue surprise in the most recent quarter and that is something aggressive growth investors like to see.

Estimates

We have seen a recent kick lower to $2.26, but that could be a number just coming out of the consensus.

The 2017 Zacks Consensus Estimate also saw a recent dip but that came after a big move up. The Zacks Consensus Estimate moved from $2.34 in March to $2.71 in April. Since then we have seen the number come in by 4 cents.

Valuation

The valuation is a little stiff for SIMO. 18x forward PE is a little more than the 15x industry average. The price to book multiple of 3.6x is well above the industry average of 2.6x. The price to sales multiple data is exactly the same as the book data.

Chart

Zacks has developed a chart that helps investors see how earnings estimates have impacted the price of the stock over the last several years. We call this chart the price and consensus chart, and each color coded lines represents analyst estimates over a designated year. As estimates increase, the stock tends to follow. The Zacks Rank is impacted by earnings estimate increases, beats and incorporates the idea of analyst agreement and magnitude. As a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) we see that estimates are moving higher.

Follow Brian Bolan on twitter at @BBolan1

Brian Bolan is a Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. He is the Editor in charge of the Zacks Stocks Under $10, an investor service , where he recommends the stocks in the portfolio.

Brian also runs the brand new Zacks Game Changers where he looks for stocks that are disrupting their industries and reaping big gains.

Agrium: Zacks’Bear of the Day Play

We last wrote up Agrium (AGUAnalyst Report) as a ‘Bear of the Day’ about a month ago, and since then, the company has posted a fresh earnings report. The company actually managed to beat earnings estimates in its release a few weeks ago, including a surprise profit.

While this appears bullish, it is important to note that sales struggled in several major segments, and overall gross profit was sharply lower when compared to the year ago time frame. Additionally, AGU ratcheted down expectations for its full year profit, pushing down EPS estimates to between $5.25-$6.25 a share, down from their prior view of $5.50-$7.00 a share. And while AGU boosted the range of crop nutrient sales a tad to the optimistic side, the company did cut full year potash production levels too.

Given these numbers, it shouldn’t be too surprising that AGU finds itself back in bear of the day territory. In fact, analysts have once again embarked on a series of estimate cuts which could continue to spell doom for AGU shares in the near term.

Recent Estimates

In the past thirty days, five estimates have gone lower for the current quarter, while not a single one has been revised higher. We see a similar trend for the current year and next year time frames too, with six estimates going lower in the past thirty days and not a single one higher.

The magnitude of these cuts has also been pretty severe, as the current quarter and current year consensus estimates have fallen by over 7% in the past few months. Meanwhile, the next quarter period is especially poor, with the consensus falling by about 27% in the past two months alone.

Thanks to these big cuts in expectations, current quarter and current year growth rates are expected to come in at -15% for each time period. Additionally, the next quarter period is looking at a nearly 42% drop in earnings, when compared to the year ago time frame.

With this kind of outlook, a strong earnings beat is pretty meaningless as investors are focusing in on the future instead. And it definitely doesn’t seem great for this company, or the industry at large, given that it has a bottom 10% industry rank as well.

No wonder we currently have AGU as a Zacks Rank #5 (strong sell) and are looking for more underperformance from this stock in the near term.

Other Choices

The Fertilizer segment doesn’t have a single stock in buy territory, at least at time of writing. Thus, it might be a good idea to look elsewhere in the materials world for better plays.

One that could be intriguing right now is the chemical space, as there are several top ranked companies in this area of the market. A company worth looking further into in this space is definitely Albermarle (ALBSnapshot Report) , a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Not only is ALB expected to post strong growth this quarter, but it has been seeing rising earnings estimates as of late too. So if you are looking for a better choice in the materials space, consider ALB and other chemical names over the fertilizer world and AGU, at least until we see a turnaround in expectations or a bottoming of the earnings cycle.

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Applied Materials: Zacks’Bull of the Day Play

Few companies have managed to surprise this earnings season and soar higher following the release of their results. However, one that definitely was an exception to this rule was Applied Materials (AMATAnalyst Report) .

This technology company provides services, manufacturing equipment, and software to companies in the semiconductor, display and solar PV industries around the globe and it edged out earnings estimates for its most recent quarter. The company then saw shares surge by double digits following this bullish release and a solid outlook, which was in stark contrast to many companies this earnings season which beat estimates and actually fell on their reports.

AMAT is now up about 24% in the past three months, which is roughly triple the S&P 500 in the time frame. And with this type of outperformance, investors have to be wondering if this trend can continue heading into the summer.

The price action is definitely a concern for those considering jumping in now, but the PE is still below 16, and the growth outlook remains robust. Additionally, analysts seem to be believers in the stock, as they have been ratcheting up estimates lately, a potentially great sign for AMAT investors.

Recent Estimates

In just the past week, seven estimates have marched higher for the current quarter and the next quarter, while we have seen a similar amount move higher for the full year and the next year time period too. And best of all, not a single estimate has moved lower, suggesting universal agreement from analysts on AMAT’s near term prospects.

But not only have estimates moved higher, but the magnitude of these revisions have also been impressive. In the past week, the current quarter consensus estimate has surged by over 30%, while the full year has seen a 16% move in the past week alone too.

And with a great history in earnings season which includes meeting or beating estimates every time since August 2013, it is pretty clear that AMAT knows how to manage expectations. In fact, that miss in August of 2013 was the only such time that AMAT has failed to meet or beat the consensus estimate in the past five years.

With these kinds of metrics, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to note that AMAT currently has a Zacks Rank #1 (strong buy) and that we are looking for more outperformance from this stock. In fact, the company is in the top 5% of all stocks that we cover, so it will be hard for investors to find a better choice in the technology world right now.

Bottom Line

AMAT may have surged following its earnings beat, but it is still trading at a reasonable valuation and its future appears bright. Plus, the company has a great history of living up to expectations so there is little reason to worry about the company’s near term prospects following a flurry of earnings estimate revisions by analysts.

The stock also finds itself in great company, as its industry rank is in the top 5% of all industries we cover, meaning there are few areas of the market that are better positioned in the market this summer. So, if you are looking for a top ranked stock in a great industry, look no further than AMAT which remains poised to continue its run in the months ahead too.

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Gap: Zacks’ Bear of the Day Play

Gap Inc. (GPSAnalyst Report) continues to struggle as it can’t find it’s way in the ever changing apparel landscape. This Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) has again had its estimates cut for this year and next.

Gap is a global specialty retailer with more than 3300 company-operated stores and 400 franchised stores in 90 countries along with e-commerce sites. It operates the well-known brands Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and Intermix brands.

Another Bad Quarter

Gap has been struggling since 2015 as it found itself off trend with its flagship brand Banana Republic and came up against steep competition on the low end where its Old Navy brand had thrived.

Comparable store sales were down across its three largest brands, and the only ones which it breaks out sales comps for.

Gap global comparables fell 3%, Old Navy declined 6% while Banana Republic slid 11%.

This was the quarter where we were supposed to see improvement in Banana’s numbers as it was rolling out, what it believed, would be a popular spring line. But the shoppers haven’t yet returned.

Many former Banana customers, myself included, are leery. We will pay for quality. If I want to shop at the cheaper level like H&M, I’ll shop there. Give me something that won’t fall apart in 2 months.

As a result, Gap is focusing on areas where it believes it can compete.

It will close all 53 Old Navy stores in Japan but still operate 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores there.

A total of 75 Old Navy and Banana stores will close worldwide.

It will focus on North America. It has been aggressively opening up Old Navy stores in Mexico, where there is less competition but still brand awareness.

Athleta Bright Spot?

Investors and analysts have been focusing on the negatives but one bright spot for Gap is its powerful Athleta women’s athletic brand.

This is still a small percentage of its business, however. It opened 2 new stores in the first quarter and now has 122 stores. It also launched the Athleta Girls line of clothing both in stores and on line.

While Gap expects Athleta to become its fourth iconic brand, how is it really doing? No one seems to know. But it’s been on trend for quite some time, so it’s likely a bright spot for the company.

Couldn’t Reaffirm Guidance

Gap said it couldn’t reaffirm its full year EPS guidance. However, it did say that the First Call estimate of $1.92 was within a “reasonable range” but noted that retail trends were still weak so they would have to improve to hit it.

Do the analysts think that trends will improve?

Not a chance.

Look at the estimate cuts over the last 90 days.

The Zacks Consensus for this year has now fallen to just $1.84. 2017 has been cut as well.

Is it a value or a value trap?

Shares have plunged to new lows.

On a P/E basis, they look cheap. They are trading at just 10x.

Gap also pays a dividend, which hasn’t been cut. Because the shares have plunged, it now yields 5%.

It looks like shares could be a value but there are few signs that Gap has figured out a way to turn it around with consumers. Other than Athleta, its brands remain in the doghouse. Until there is a turnaround in comparable sales, Gap will struggle.

The entire apparel sector is struggling as consumers spend less money on clothes and more on experiences and entertainment. But if you must buy a retailer, you should consider American Eagle Outfitters (AEOAnalyst Report) .

It’s still on trend. Earnings are expected to grow nearly 15% this year.

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Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Insider Trader and Value Investor services. You can follow her on twitter at @TraceyRyniec and she also hosts the Zacks Market Edge Podcast on iTunes.

Belmond: Zacks’Bull of the Day Play

Belmond Ltd. (BELSnapshot Report) is cashing in on the demand for “experiences.” This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) is expected to see double digit earnings growth in 2016.

Belmond is a luxury travel and hotel company. It operates 46 hotels worldwide including in destination cities like Venice, St. Petersburg and Santa Barbara. It also operates 7 luxury tourist trains, including the Venice Simplon Orient Express, three river cruises, safaris and the “21” Club restaurant in New York City.

Big Beat in the First Quarter

The first quarter of the year is historically a seasonally slow one for Belmond but it beat the Zacks Consensus by 9 cents. Earnings were a loss of 3 cents compared to the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 12 cents.

It has surprised 3 out of the last 4 quarters.

First quarter constant currency RevPAR growth exceeded the company’s own guidance, rising 9% year over year on a constant currency basis. The quarter was boosted by a 5% increase in average daily rate (“ADR”) and a 3 percentage point increase in occupancy.

Europe was a highlight in the quarter with revenue rising 13% year over year. In particular, it saw revenue growth of $1 million, or 31%, at Belmond Reid’s Palace in Madeira Portugal due to increased demand for that destination.

It’s river cruises, however, saw declining revenue in the quarter as one of its two cruise ships in Myanmar, the Belmond Road to Mandalay, saw a 32% revenue decline due to increasing competition in the country. Up until this year, Belmond mostly had river cruising in Myanmar to itself.

Analysts are Bullish

The company said it was encouraged by the strong start to the year in what is historically its slow period.

The analysts are encouraged too as estimates have risen since the earnings report.

2 estimates have moved higher in the last 30 days pushing up the 2016 Zacks Consensus Estimate to 22 cents from 16 cents.

That is earnings growth of 22.2%.

Earnings are expected to move higher in 2017, albeit not quite as strongly. But analysts see another 4.5% earnings growth in 2017.

Shares Off 2015 Highs

Shares hit new highs in 2015 but have slid in 2016.

Still, they aren’t cheap, as they are trading with a forward P/E of 41.

But for investors looking for a way to play the luxury travel market in a world where people value experiences and making memories, then Belmond is a stock to keep on your short list.

Want More of Our Best Recommendations?

Zacks’ Executive VP, Steve Reitmeister, knows when key trades are about to be triggered and which of our experts has the hottest hand. Then each week he hand-selects the most compelling trades and serves them up to you in a new program called Zacks Confidential.

Learn More>>

Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Insider Trader and Value Investor services. You can follow her on twitter at @TraceyRyniec and she also hosts the Zacks Market Edge Podcast on iTunes.

Advanced Auto Parts: Zacks’ Bear of the Day Play

Advanced Auto Parts (AAPAnalyst Report) engages in the automotive replacement parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items for domestic and imported cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, and light and heavy duty trucks. The Virginia based company is now a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) after a recent EPS miss.

The company has a market cap of $10.7 Billion and has a Forward PE of 16. The stock sports a Zacks Style Scores of “C” in Growth, Value and Momentum.  The company has 3-5 year growth rate of 11.55% and dividend yield of 0.16%.

Earnings

Q1 earnings came in at $2.51 verse the $2.61 expected. The company cut fiscal year same store sales to -5% verses a -3% expected. Advanced Auto also announced it will no longer target adjusting operating income of 12% for 2016. In addition, the company’s CFO will be leaving the company.

The stock reacted negatively to the news selling off almost 10% to February lows. However, investors and perhaps short sellers bought the stock back up to unchanged level. After making a 2016 high at $165 in early April, the stock now sits in a vulnerable spot under the $150 level. The earnings momentum is bringing sellers into the stock and another break of the $130 level could lead to long term investors dumping the stock.

Estimates

Over the last 60 days, the company has seen estimates fall for both fiscal year 2016 and 2017. For the current year we have seen a 5.7% revision lower from $10.01 to $9.43. For next year, estimates have fallen 5.2%, from $8.93 to $8.46.

These numbers are also reflected in the next couple quarters as well. If the company misses when it next reports in June the stock will be in danger of new 2016 lows.

A Better option

If investors want exposure to the auto part sector that are better going with US Auto Parts Network (PRTSSnapshot Report) . The company  is a leading online provider of automotive aftermarket parts, including body parts, engine parts, performance parts and aZacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

PRTS reported an EPS and revenue beat on May 9th and sports Zacks Style Scores of “A” in both Momentum and Growth and “B” in Value. The stock is up over 13% for the year and estimates for fiscal year 2016 have doubled over the last month.  The company reports Q2 earnings on August 9th.

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Hasbro: Zacks’ Bull of the Day Play

Hasbro (HASAnalyst Report) provides children’s and family leisure time products and services worldwide.The companyoperates through U.S. and Canada, International, Entertainment and Licensing, and Global Operations segments. Its brands include Playskool, Tonka, Super Soaker, Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, Tiger, and Hasbro Interactive. Some of its popular games and products include Monopoly, Twister, Connect 4, Scrabble, Jenga, The Game of Life, Operation, Play-Doh, and Nerf.

Hasbro’s diversified toy and game product line has brought earnings momentum to the company and helped the stock become one of the best performers of 2016, up over 25%. The company recently became a Zack Rank #1 (Strong Buy) making it the Bull of the Day.

Fundamentals

Hasbro has a market cap of $10.5 Billion with a Forward PE of 20. The stock sports a Zacks Style Score of “A” in Growth and has of VGM score of “B”. The company has an expected 3-5 year growth rate just above 13% and it pays a dividend yield of 2.42% while you wait for that growth.

Relative Strength

Over the last two years Hasbro has outperformed, returning almost 70% verse just under 10% for the S&P 500. The combination of growth and a strong of earnings beats have lead to the stock surge, but the driver has been the company’s ability to capitalize on hot toy markets.

Toy Fads and Opportunities

Whether it is Avengers, Star Wars or Angry Birds, Hasbro excels at marketing and profiting off the toys of popular moves. It’s a pretty simple concept that starts when a kid see the movie, then see the commercial for the toy, and then bugs their parents till they give in and buy the toy.

Last quarter CEO Brian Goldner had some comments on this success during the earnings conference call: “Demand for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS products continued to be high and we benefited from the addition of DISNEY PRINCESS and FROZEN fashion and small dolls. We are very encouraged with global demand and our outlook for 2016.

This past week, a woman that bought a Hasbro Chewbacca mask at Kohl’s (KSSAnalyst Report) put an entertaining video on Facebook that went viral. This led to sell outs of the mask at both Kohl’s and Hasbro stores. The company’s ability to capitalize on trends and events like this continue to drive sales quarter over quarter.

Earnings and Estimates

Hasbro reported Q1 earnings on April 18th. EPS came in at $0.38 verse the $0.24 expected, while EBITDA came in at $117 Million verse $93 year over year. Domestic growth was strong, with the US/Canada segment coming in at 28% year over year, while international was seen at 13%.

Looking at future earnings, estimates are headed higher for fiscal year 2016 and 2017. For the current year estimates have jumped 3.5% over the last 60 days, from $3.95 to $4.09. For next year during the same time period, estimates have gone 3.4% higher, from $4.38 to $4.53.

While future growth may seem to be priced into the stock, as long as the EPS momentum continues, any pullback should be bought.

EPS Surprises

Hasbro will go for its seventh straight beat on July 18th. Since the streak began the stock is up over 50%, heading form the $55 area to $87. If the beats can continue the stock’s price momentum should continue higher.

 

In Summary

Hasbro’s diversified product line, nice dividend and exposure to popular movies and trends makes it an interesting play. While a lot of the good news looks to be priced into the stock at the moment, there is still room for growth and higher prices. An investor’s best approach, rather than chasing the stock, should be to wait for pullbacks and enter during market corrections.

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3D Systems: Zacks’Bear of the Day Play

The next biggest thing ever comes around once every six months or so. These shifts in market sentiment can provide opportunities to profit in the short term for sure, but not many of them pan out to live up to the hype. Still, it’s a blast trying to find the next “story stock” that’s going to revolutionize an industry or change our daily lives.

Not too long ago, the hot topic was 3D printing. The technology was set to change manufacturing in the future. Rather than having to go to the store to pick something up, we’d just download the instructions and print what we needed right there in the comfort of our own home. Personally, I understood the technology but I didn’t really buy into the idea. It may change how manufacturing is done but I doubt it’s going to change my daily life in any way.

So I’ve never been very bullish on the consumer 3D printing market. Judging by the recent analyst earnings estimate revisions on today’s Bear of the Day it looks like I’m not the only one to share the sentiment. 3D Systems Corp (DDDAnalyst Report) is a leading provider of 3D modeling, rapid prototyping and manufacturing solutions. Its systems and materials reduce the time and cost of designing products and facilitate direct and indirect manufacturing by creating actual parts directly from digital input. That’s a fancy way of saying the company makes 3D printers.

Here at Zacks, we’ve got a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) rating on the stock with Value and Momentum Style Scores of F. Negative earnings estimate revisions for the stock are coming on the heels of a disappointing earnings report where the company reported a 5 cent loss for the quarter versus consensus calling for a penny loss. Over the last 30 days, two analysts have dropped their earnings estimates for the current year. The revisions have dropped our Zacks Consensus Estimate from a 16 cent gain for the year down to just 7 cents. The current quarter, which analysts originally saw coming in at 2 cents looks to be a breakeven quarter now.

We have the stock uniquely positioned in a vague computer manufacturing industry that includes Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) HP (HPQAnalyst Report) and Lenovo (LNVGYSnapshot Report) .

Cincinnati Financial: Zacks’Bull of the Day Play

It is time for investors to face the facts.

An interest rate hike is coming sooner rather than later, with some speculating that a hike could come as early as next month. While the market is still pricing a low chance of this happening, investors are starting to think that one could happen this summer, with recent readings of the CME FedWatch suggesting we are more likely than not to see a hike in July.

However, it has been a long time since we were in a rising rate environment, so some investors might not remember what the best sectors are in this scenario. One sector that tends to benefit is the financial space, with the insurance industry often leading the pack. That is why I am looking to a top ranked stock in this sector, Cincinnati Financial (CINFAnalyst Report) , as one to keep on your radar in the short-term.

Why Insurance?

Cincinnati Financial, like other companies in the insurance segment, takes in premiums from clients and then invests that cash in securities. The idea here is that the income or return earned on the investment portfolio more than makes up for any losses from the insurance policies written, allowing companies to profit from the spread between the two.

CINF and others in the space usually invest a large portion of their portfolio in bonds, so a rate hike would be great news for companies in this space. After all, any future premiums invested in bonds will have higher payouts once rates start to rise, directly contributing to insurance companies’ bottom line. This makes insurance a great place to be in a rising rate environment, but why look to CINF in particular?

Why CINF

Cincinnati Financial has been seeing rising earnings estimates as of late, for both the short term and the long term. In fact, we haven’t witnessed any revisions lower for the current quarter or the current year in the past sixty days, while we see a similar trend for the next year too.

But it isn’t just that we have been seeing rising estimates lately, the pace of these increases has also been impressive as well. In just the past month, the current quarter estimate has increased by over 12%, while the full year and next year estimates have both moved higher by over 7.4%.

And while some might worry about a company living up to lofty expectations, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern for CINF. The company has a great track record at earnings season including four straight beats and only two misses in the past five years. Clearly, they know how to manage expectations.

CINCINNATI FINL Price and EPS Surprise

CINCINNATI FINL Price and EPS Surprise | CINCINNATI FINL Quote

No wonder CINF has earned itself a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and why we are looking for more gains in the months ahead for this stock, and especially so if interest rates move in the right direction.

Bottom Line

An interest rate hike is coming, and it is probably best to start preparing your portfolio for this reality. One easy way to do this is by looking to top companies in the insurance industry.

A great pick in particular is Cincinnati Financial. Not only has it been seeing rising earnings estimates, but it has strong momentum and decent growth prospects too. So consider this insurance company if you are looking for an easy way to help position your portfolio for a rising rate environment, which may be here sooner than you think.

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