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U.S. Economic Expansion Now Second-Longest Ever: 5 Picks


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As we enter the month of May, the current economic expansion has just become the second longest in U.S. history. Currently, the Fed is meeting to deliberate whether to raise rates, as part of the process of winding down monetary stimulus, which largely fueled a turnaround. But at 106 months, or eight years and 10 months, the current economic expansion shows no signs of cooling off. 

Experts believe that the low and slow nature of this expansion is the primary reason for its longevity. Several sectors such as investment and housing are facing multiple headwinds at this point. But low unemployment and resilient consumption levels are likely to remain constant in the near future. This is why it makes sense to add hiring and consumer discretionary stocks to your portfolios.

Slow & Steady Pace Fuels Longevity

Immediately, after the 2008 crisis, individuals and corporations alike were unwilling to accept high levels of risk. After all, debt taken on during the last boom period was still being worked off. The severity of the last economic crisis was such that investment occurred at a slow and steady pace.

The slow pace of growth and sluggish inflation helped the Federal Reserve maintain a low rate environment for an extended period. This helped equity markets to expand to levels near four times higher than those witnessed during March 2009, when they hit rock bottom. 

The gradual nature of growth is possibly why economists don't think that a near-term recession is in the offing. Most of them believe that the recovery will extend until July 2019, which would make it the longest on record.

Labor Market Strong, Consumption Steady

However, several components of GDP are facing serious challenges at present. For instance, Trump's trade-related actions versus China could significantly impair business investment. Further, the spike in materials prices due to Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum could impede manufacturing. Soaring home prices and mortgage rates are also threatening the housing recovery.

But a strong labor market and, consequently, steady consumption levels are likely to fuel growth in the future. Though evidence of higher inflation has recently become available, the cost of living remains more or less constant. Economists believe that this factor along with tax cuts and strong hiring will fuel household spending. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remains at a 17-year low of 4.1%, one which usually signifies full employment. Fresh evidence of wage growth has also become recently available.

Our Choices

The current economic expansion has just become the second longest on record. A slow and steady level of growth is likely to ensure its longevity, at least until next year. A strong labor market and steady consumption levels are likely to fuel growth in the future.

Investing in consumer discretionary and hiring stocks looks like a winning option at this point. However, picking winning stocks may be difficult.

This is where our VGM Score comes in. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum and the score is a weighted combination of these three scores. Such a score allows you to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select winners. However, it is important to keep in mind that each Style Score will carry a different weight while arriving at a VGM Score. 

We have narrowed down our search to the following stocks based on a good Zacks Rank and VGM Score.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS is a leading international developer of multi-use integrated resorts primarily operating in the United States and Asia.

Las Vegas Sands has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and a VGM Score of B. The company has expected earnings growth of 21.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 5.3% over the last 30 days.

Korn/Ferry International KFY is the world's leading and largest executive recruitment firm with the broadest global presence in the executive recruitment industry.

Korn/Ferry has a VGM Score of B. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 5.6% over the last 60 days. The stock has a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Discovery, Inc. DISCA offers original and purchased programming in the United States and more than 220 other countries and territories in over 40 languages.

Discovery has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of A. The company's expected earnings growth for the current year is 19.7%.  The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 1.6% over the last 30 days.

Robert Half International Inc. RHI is one of the world's largest providers of temporary staffing, project professionals and permanent placement services to the finance and accounting industries.

Robert Half has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM Score of A. The company's expected earnings growth for the current year is 29.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 4.2% over the last 30 days.

Michael Kors Holdings Limited KORS is a global luxury lifestyle company, founded by designer Michael Kors.

Michael Kors Holdings has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM Score of B. The company's expected earnings growth for the current year is 6.2%.  The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has improved by 1% over the last 30 days.

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Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS): Free Stock Analysis Report

Discovery Communications, Inc. (DISCA): Free Stock Analysis Report

Michael Kors Holdings Limited (KORS): Free Stock Analysis Report

Korn/Ferry International (KFY): Free Stock Analysis Report

Robert Half International Inc. (RHI): Free Stock Analysis Report

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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 , Business , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: LVS , DISCA , KORS , KFY , RHI



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