U.S. consumer confidence index for the month of September jumped to an 18-year high of 138.4 from 134.7 in August.
Increasing for three months in a row, the index came well above the consensus estimate of 132.7 and hovered close to the all-time high of 144.7 recorded in May 2000.
Present Situation and Expectation Indices Up
While the present conditions measure rose modestly to 173.1, consumer expectations gauge increased six points to 115.3. Rise in both metrics indicates that spending momentum is likely to remain strong and this is good news for retailers, especially as the holiday shopping season approaches.
A Conference Board survey also depicted that consumer's outlook about the labor market was more upbeat. Of the total respondents, 45.7% said jobs were "plentiful." According to Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, "Knowing that the job market is strong, knowing that one has a regular paycheck, does wonders for confidence."
Continued high level of confidence indicates that consumers are little worried about the ongoing and intensifying trade war.
Strong Expectations Indicate Sustained Economic Growth
Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board said that surge in the expectations index points toward economic growth of more than 3% for the remainder of the year.
In the second quarter, U.S. GDP grew 4.2%, almost doubling from 2.2% increase witnessed in the first quarter and recording the strongest performance in four years. Also, the Fed has raised GDP estimates and now expects it to rise 3.1% in 2018 and 2.5% in 2019, up from the June forecast of 2.8% and 2.4%, respectively.
4 Great Picks
Given the increasing level of optimism, consumers are likely to splurge this holiday season. So, adding consumer discretionary stocks to your portfolio looks like a smart option at this point.
Our research shows that stocks with a VGM Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) offer the best investment opportunities for investors. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
So, we have narrowed down our search to the following stocks as they fit the criteria.
Weight management services provider Weight Watchers International, Inc. WTW sportsa Zacks Rank #1 and has a VGM Score of B. The company has expected earnings growth rate of 80.6% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year improved 2.4% in the last 60 days.
Weight Watchers International Inc Price and Consensus
Weight Watchers International Inc Price and Consensus | Weight Watchers International Inc Quote
Recreational powerboats provider Malibu Boats, Inc. MBUU also carries a Zacks Rank #1 and has VGM Score of B. The company expects earnings growth of more than 24.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year improved 12.9% in the last 60 days.
Malibu Boats, Inc. Price and Consensus
Malibu Boats, Inc. Price and Consensus | Malibu Boats, Inc. Quote
Manufacturer and distributer of kitchen, bath, and home organization products American Woodmark Corporation AMWD carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has a VGM Score of A. The company's expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 45.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year improved 1.1% in the last 60 days.
American Woodmark Corporation Price and Consensus
American Woodmark Corporation Price and Consensus | American Woodmark Corporation Quote
Casual wear, workwear, and accessoriesseller Duluth Holdings Inc. DLTH carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has a VGM Score of B. The company expects earnings growth of 25.4% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year improved 3.7% in the last 60 days.
Duluth Holdings Inc. Price and Consensus
Duluth Holdings Inc. Price and Consensus | Duluth Holdings Inc. Quote
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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report American Woodmark Corporation (AMWD): Free Stock Analysis Report Malibu Boats, Inc. (MBUU): Free Stock Analysis Report Duluth Holdings Inc. (DLTH): Free Stock Analysis Report Weight Watchers International Inc (WTW): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.