Whole Foods hits new high
However, the natural foods market chain is still 3.6% below the Zacks consensus price target.
By Zacks Equity Research
Buoyed by strong second-quarter fiscal 2013 earnings, shares of Whole Foods Market (WFM) recorded a new 52-week high of $103.72 Wednesday, before closing at $102.19, and rising approximately 11.6% year to date. Based on the current price, however, Whole Foods is still 3.6% below the Zacks consensus average analyst price target of $106.
The company currently trades at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 35.6 times, a 68.1% premium to the peer group average of 21.2 times. Additionally, its long-term estimated EPS growth rate is 17.9%, higher than the peer group average of 11.9%.
Whole Foods' second-quarter earnings of 76 cents a share beat the Zacks consensus estimate of 73 cents, and surged 19% from 64 cents earned in the prior-year quarter as shoppers flocked to the grocery chain. The Austin, Texas company, which will undergo a two-for-one stock split later this month, also raised its earnings-per-share projection.
Management now envisions earnings between $2.86 and $2.89 per share, portraying a year-over-year jump of 13% -- 15%, up from a range of $2.83 -- $2.87 forecasted earlier.
Whole Foods continues to project an escalation of 10% -- 11% in total sales for fiscal 2013 on the back of an expected 6.7% to 7.5% rise in comparable-store sales and 6.5% to 7.2% growth in same-store sales.
Moreover, the company stated that for the first three weeks of the quarter, comparable-store sales are witnessing healthy trends and are up 9.4%.
Zacks rank for Whole Foods
Currently, Whole Foods carries a Zacks Rank No. 4 ("sell") as the comparable and same-store sales growth trend is softening. Consequently, Whole Foods narrowed the range of comparable and same-store sales growth for the fiscal year.
However, there are certain other stocks that warrant a look, such as Flowers Foods, Inc. (FLO), which holds a Zacks Rank No. 1 ("strong buy") and is expected to continue with its upbeat performance. Other stocks that should be watched are J&J Snack Foods Corp. (JJSF) and Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (HAIN), both of which sport a Zacks Rank No. 2 ("buy").
More from Zacks
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
These hot movers could rise by double digits in coming months.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.