The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Lululemon Athletica, Bank of Montreal, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Sun Life Financial and Restaurant Brands International

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - July 13, 2018 - Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU , Bank of Montreal BMO , The Toronto-Dominion Bank TD , Sun Life Financial Inc. SLF and Restaurant Brands International Inc. QSR .

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Canada's Strong GDP Raises Rate Hike Prospects: 5 Picks

The Canadian economy showed resilience to harsh winters and global economic crisis and exhibited growth in April. Economists had largely written off growth for the period. However, in its latest report released on Jun 29, an unexpected spurt in Canada's growth has increased the likelihood of a rate hike by the Bank of Canada in July.

Under conditions where interest rates are likely to help sectors, financials and consumer discretionary turn out as star performers. Both these sectors witness an increase in margins in a rising rate environment. Consequently, investing in Canadian stocks from these two sectors seems prudent at the moment.

Canada's GDP Beats Market Forecasts

Per the latest report from Statistics Canada, the country's GDP expanded 0.1% in April to $1.34 trillion on the back of strength in its factory orders. The country's economy has witnessed growth in seven of the last eight months. Furthermore, such a rise in GDP was largely unexpected as economists had forecast the growth to remain stagnant from the previous month.

Also, manufacturing activity in the country witnessed a rise of 0.8% in the month on the back of increased output from machinery. Further, output from food and chemical products also increased to boost the overall industrial output in the month.

The report also stated that Canadian producer prices increased 1% in the month to register the fifth consecutive rise. It was boosted by high energy and fuel prices. Finally, of the 21 commodity groups that were surveyed, 17 showed expansion. This was the greatest such expansion since November 2017.

Bank of Canada to Hike Rates in July

Strength in the Canadian economy has raised speculation of a likely rate hike by the Bank of Canada in July. The central bank has hiked interest rates three times since July 2017. Further, the central bank is set to announce the future of Canada's monetary policy on Jul 11 and economists predict an 80% probability of such a development.

Currently pegged at 1.25%, the central bank's governor Stephen Poloz, is expected to come up with a hike in his next announcement. Poloz has strictly followed a data-dependent approach toward deciding interest-rate levels in the economy. Also, recent surveys by Bank of Canada reflect robust labor market conditions and stupendous wage growth. This further makes hints at a hike in interest rate this month.

5 Best Choices

Unexpected growth in Canada's GDP in April reflects the country's resilience to harsh winters and global economic downturns. Such a development has not only boosted the loonie but also increased prospects of a rate hike in the Bank of Canada this month.

Further, tight labor market conditions and steadily rising wages pave the way for a rate hike. In this context, we have selected five stocks that are expected to gain from these factors. These five stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Lululemon Athletica Inc.  is a designer and retailer of athletic apparel and accessories.

The company is based out of Vancouver and sports a Zacks Rank #1. The expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 24.18%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 1.2% over the last 60 days.

Bank of Montreal  is a provider of diversified financial services including personal and commercial banking as well as wealth management.

The company is based out of Montreal and carries a Zacks Rank #2. The expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 11.31%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 1.5% over the last 60 days.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank  is a provider of personal and commercial banking products and services in Canada as well as the United States.

The company is based out of Toronto and has a Zacks Rank #2. The expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 15.65%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 1.2% over the last 60 days.

Sun Life Financial Inc.  is a provider of insurance, wealth, and asset management services.

The company is based out of Toronto and has a Zacks Rank #2. The expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 13.56%.

Restaurant Brands International Inc.  is the owner, operator and franchisor of quick service restaurants.

The company is based out of Vancouver and has a Zacks Rank #2. The expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 34.36%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved 0.4% over the last 60 days.

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Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance  for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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Bank Of Montreal (BMO): Free Stock Analysis Report

Toronto Dominion Bank (The) (TD): Free Stock Analysis Report

Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF): Free Stock Analysis Report

lululemon athletica inc. (LULU): Free Stock Analysis Report

Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: BMO , TD , SLF , LULU , QSR

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