4. Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) is a specialty retailer of apparel for women and teenage girls, with stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It operates stores under the Dress Barn and Justice names.
Ascena's stock has risen 34% a year, on average, since 2008, outperforming comparable equities. It has returned 17% in the past 12 months. Of equity researchers evaluating the company, seven, or 78%, advise purchasing its shares and two recommend holding them. None say to sell. The stock has a median target of $34.50, suggesting an impending gain of 11%. Piper Jaffray, rating it "overweight", expects a rise of 26% to $39. BB&T Capital Markets values Ascena at $30, implying modest downside, but rates it "buy." Ascena sells for a peer discount.
Its stock commands a trailing earnings multiple of 14, a forward earnings multiple of 11, a book value multiple of 2 and a cash flow multiple of 8.9, 28%, 38%, 37% and 27% specialty retail industry discounts. Its PEG ratio of 0.5 reflects a 50% discount to estimated fair value. Ascena is scheduled to release fiscal second-quarter results this morning. The company has an average earnings beat rate of more than 13% and an average sales beat rate of 1.3%, but its stock dropped 3.2% and 4.7%, respectively, in response to the two previous quarterly earnings releases.
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