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3 Top-Ranked Stocks for Women's Day - Analyst Blog

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A study conducted by Mintigo proves that women are now indeed on par with men. The study claims that companies with female CEOs yield better results than those run by their male counterparts.

Further, according to the latest available data, Fortune 1000 companies with women CEOs have returned 103.4% on average under their tenure, compared with an average return of 69.5% for the S&P 500 index over the same period.

Relegated for a very long time as the second sex, not given property rights, the right to vote, earn a decent living or have access to proper education and basic health care, haven't women successfully beaten down the doors? It is to those gritty women, over the ages, that International Women's Day ("IWD") is dedicated.

HERstory

A flash back to the turn of the 20th century and we find IWD has had its origins in the socialist movements of North America and Europe. In the U.S., the first National Woman's Day was celebrated on February 28, 1909 in remembrance of the 1908 garment workers' strike in New York.

Women workers had taken to the street protesting against dismal working conditions and poor pay, not far from the financial nerve center today (where the Wall Street Bull is). When the bell rings and the markets open, you can measure the progress that has been made by the women's movement, from then and now.

Women in Today's Corporate World

Women have, a century later, broken into the male bastions of business and politics, the armed forces and the hallowed corridors of learning.

Corporate America hangs on every word the Fed Chair Janet Yellen utters. Ranked #6 on Forbes' The World's Most Powerful People, just after the German chancellor, and another woman of substance, Angela Merkel, Yellen has a mission of repairing the American dream of equal opportunities for all.

And if you see the list of S&P 500 companies, women currently hold 23 CEO positions. According to a Business Insider article published last month, the stocks of these 23 women-led companies have surpassed the Dow, the NYSE, and the S&P 500 over the last 12 months.

Women lead some of the most powerful companies in the U.S. today. The shift has been from traditionally perceived "women's spheres" like advertising and media, where the emphasis is on creativity, to minding tough jobs like heading the world's top defense company Lockheed Martin LMT , or being at the helm of one of the biggest car makers, General Motors GM .

The male domains of defense, health care and technology are now taken over by some very smart, qualified and extremely poised women. Leading generic and specialty drug maker Mylan MYL has a woman CEO and so is the top brass of the tech companies Yahoo! YHOO and IBM IBM . Xerox XRX is led by Ursula M. Burns - the first African-American to rise to the top of a Fortune 500 company.

3 Top-Ranked Stocks that Bet on Women

Below, we take a quick look at three stocks that are topped by women and have massive upside potential.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.CBRL

Headed by Sandra B. Cochran, this restaurant operator has seen its shares rise over 50% in the past year. The company has surpassed earnings estimates in all of the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 8.5%. Also, the company's latest activities have won analysts' confidence, as reflected by the 7.2% upward revision in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current fiscal over the last 30 days. Consequently, the stock achieved a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) indicating further potential for price gain.

Gannett Co., Inc.GCI

Led by the veteran Gracia Martore, Gannett is a media and marketing solutions company with a return of about 20% in the past year. Gannett's earnings surprise history is also unblemished over the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 4.2%. Analysts have also been positive on this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock with the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2015 climbing 1.2% in the last 30 days.

Ross Stores Inc.ROST

At the helm of off-price retailer Ross Stores is Barbara Rentler. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company has seen its shares rise above 45% in the past year. The company has also beaten earnings estimates in three of the trailing four quarters, with a positive surprise of 4.7%. The Dress for Less retailer has also elicited bullish estimate revisions with the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current fiscal moving up about 1% in the last 30 days.

Secrets Behind Their Incredible Success

Of course, the toil has been hard but the "will to lead" stronger. It is also believed that the turn from an industrial to a post-industrial economy, where the emphasis shifted from the application of brute force to the intellect, from brawn to brain, has helped women to come up. Hence we see so many women in the tech space climbing the very male-dominated corporate ladder - their degrees in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) have made it possible.

Add to this a sea-change in the mindset where marriages are based on a 50-50 partnership, household chores and child raising are shared by both partners, and the support pitched in by the extended family, have helped women to not only stay in the work force but also to work their way up.

Women have made quite a few cracks in the glass ceiling. And some even claim there isn't a glass ceiling any more, but a sunroof!

The Other Side of the Story

But this is only one-half of the story. To admit an uncomfortable fact, the large majority of these "ceiling crashers" come from a privileged section of the society and are mostly white women. There is less and less representation of women of color in the higher echelons - admittedly there is the pop star CEO of PepsiCo Inc. PEP Indra K. Nooyi and Ursula Burns at Xerox, but they're more of an exception than a rule.

The idea of "leaning in" ignores the realities of women of color, of poor immigrants, of women on the margins. It is here the story of corporate feminism falls into crevices and miserably fails to retrieve the battle for those women who're not in a position to lean in, to do the motivational work that is required of them to succeed in life and find a place in corporate America.

Not taking anything away from the achievers - yes, the progress has been astounding - but we still have some way to go.

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PEPSICO INC (PEP): Free Stock Analysis Report

ROSS STORES (ROST): Free Stock Analysis Report

GANNETT INC (GCI): Free Stock Analysis Report

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MYLAN NV (MYL): Free Stock Analysis Report

GENERAL MOTORS (GM): 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.


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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