Stock Watch


3 Stocks to Profit From Increased Middle-Class Spending

Kathy Kristof

These retailers will likely benefit as middle-class Americans find some extra cash to spend.



With the price of gasoline edging down (at least for now) and incomes rising a little, even the long-battered middle-market consumer has some extra bucks to take to the mall. Here are three retailers that cater to this group and are likely to benefit:

SEE ALSO: 6 Retail Stocks to Cash In On

Kohl's (symbol KSS) benefits from off-mall retail locations and aggressive marketing campaigns that shoot customers discount coupons on a regular basis. That feeds into the value mentality of today's recession-scarred consumer and is likely to support double-digit growth at the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based chain. At $44, Kohl's sells for just 9 times estimated earnings for the year that ends next January. Analyst Jason Asaeda, of S&P Capital IQ, thinks the stock will hit $56 within a year.

The stock of J.C. Penney (JCP) plunged in May, after the Plano, Tex., company announced that its loss for the quarter that ended April 28 would be greater than expected. But the pummeling is just what the stock needed, says Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand. Until then, investors had been so enamored with chief executive Ron Johnson, formerly Apple's retailing guru, that no one seemed to notice that turning around a company with annual sales of $16 billion might take some time. The stock, $43 in February, now sells for $26. Swinand thinks Penney is worth $38 a share.

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Target (TGT) is a favorite of S&P Capital IQ analyst Ian Gordon. He thinks investors are underestimating the boost the Minneapolis company is likely to get from its expansion into Canada, which began early last year with the purchase of 220 Canadian stores from another chain. Those stores should be profitable by 2014. At $57, Target is selling at 13 times estimated earnings for the year ending next January. Gordon thinks the stock will hit $72 within a year.

Kathy Kristof is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and author of the book Investing 101. Follow her on Twitter. Or email her at practicalinvesting@kiplinger.com.


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