2 Retail Stocks to Buy Now

Historically, the Christmas season has been abullish time forstocks . However, analysts who projected 3-4% growth in retail sales during the months leading up to Christmas failed to consider the negative effect Fiscal Fliff fears would have on consumers. The uncertainty has resulted in consumers not spending as expected during the holiday season.

But to paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the retail sector's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Spending still increased, albeit slightly, and there are still goodstock picks to be had in the sector.

As a matter of fact, I have my eye on two...

But before I get to that, I want to point out that despite being slow, retail sales were still growing amid the fear of highertaxes and lower government spending fears.

And I take this as a bullish signal for 2013. Now that the fiscal cliff situation is resolved, consumers could likely kick into high gear, pushing retail higher in the first half of 2013.

I was happy to discover that I am not the only one who is bullish on the retail sector currently, when I learned several hedge funds share my retail sector bullishness, particularly Stephen Mandel''s Lone Pine Capital. Thishedge fund has become heavilyweighted with retail stocks. According to the latest SEC13F filing, five of Lone Pine's top 20 holdings are in the retail sector.

Here's a closer look at two of its holdings.

1. Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR)

Lone Pine currently owns 11.8 millionshares of this discount retailer, resulting in more than 5% ownership. In the third fiscal quarter of 2012,revenue advanced 8% during the same period in 2011. Comparablenet sales climbed 1.6% to a little more than $1.1 billion andEBITDA exploded higher by 49% to almost $245 million. The stock is currently trading at around 16 times trailingearnings with abeta of 0.02%, which shows it clearly doesn't care whether theeconomy improves or not.

However, itwill not take much of an increase in consumer confidence to push shares higher. Ultra-discount stores are known as being shielded from negative fluctuations in the economy. Other hedge funds such as Blue Ridge Capital and Renaissance Technologies also added shares of Dollar Tree to their holdings last quarter. Not to mention a 5,000-share purchase by a company director in November 2012.

Although the stock price was lower during 2012, shares have rocketed nearly 400% in the past five years on the back of growingcorporate profits . It appearsinsiders and hedge funds are in this stock for the long term based on its historic performance rather than the short term. This is a huge positive for investors.

Technically, shares have built a base at support in the $38 range. Price has bounced up to the 50-day simplemoving average , setting up an ideal breakout entry situation. Buying on a daily break out close above $40 a share with a 12-month target of $47 makesinvestment sense right now.

2. Michael Kors ( KORS )

Lone Pine also owns on the other side of the consumer spectrum with 8.8 million shares of fashion house Michael Kors. In the fiscal quarter ending in September 2012, revenue soared 74% to about $1.7 billion andnet income exploded higher by 114% to just over $240 million compared with a year earlier. The stock price has reflected the growth by advancing more than 100% in the past year, sharply outperforming the S&P 500, Dow Jones Retail TitansIndex (DJTRET) and the Dow Jones U.S. Apparel Retailer Index (DJUSRA).

The company has amarket cap of close to $10 billion and a return onequity of nearly 45%, making it a solid player in the high-end retail space.

Technically, shares have pulled back into the value "buy" zone, finding support in the $48 range. The stock is a good buy now with a 12-month target of $60 a share.

Consumers could remain nervous about tax increases incurred from the fiscal cliff deal. Having said that, I think fiscal cliff fears will soon be a thing of the past Always use stops and position size wisely wheninvesting .

Action To Take --> I like both stocks listed above as long-terminvestments . Dollar Tree as a breakout trade above $40 a share with stops at $38 and Michael Kors in the value "buy" zone with stops at $46 make solid investment sense for investors looking for exposure in the retail sector.

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

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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.

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