Gap, Staples: S&P 500 Gainers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Retailers The Gap ( GPS) and Staples ( SPLS) were among the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 on Thursday.

The S&P 500 increased 8.41 points, or 0.62%, to 1,374.09 on Thursday.

Shares of Gap increased 7.23% Thursday to $25.05. The retailer reported Thursday that February net sales rose 6% and that February comparable sales, which also factors in online sales, increased 4% compared with a year-ago loss of 3%. Analysts were expecting a drop of 1.4% in this area, according to Bloomberg, which cited Retail Metrics data.

Gap's stock also hit a 52-week high Thursday of $26. The stock's 52-week low of $15.08 was set on Sept. 6.

Gap has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 12.82X; the average for apparel retailer companies is 16.81X. For comparison, both Limited Brands ( LTD) and Nordstrom ( JWN) have higher forward P/Es of 14.4X and 13.54X, respectively.

Twenty-one of the 32 analysts who cover Gap rate it at hold. Six analysts give the stock a buy rating and five rate it at sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Gap a B grade with a buy rating and $27.17 price target. The stock has risen 35.04% year to date.

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Staples shares rose 4.92% to $15.38. On Wednesday, the office supplies retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings of $283.6 million, or 41 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $274.7 million, or 39 cents a share.

Staples has a forward P/E of 9.42X; the average for specialty retailers is 16.51X. For comparison, Office Max ( OMX) has a lower forward P/E of 9.07X and Office Depot's ( ODP) forward P/E is 20.06X.

Ten of the 21 analysts who cover the company rate it at hold. Nine analysts give the stock a buy rating and two rate it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Staples a B- grade with a buy rating and $17.74 price target. The stock has risen 10.74% year to date.


Other top-performing S&P 500 stocks on Thursday included:
  • MetroPCS (PCS): The stock rose 5.53% on Thursday to $10.87. The stock has increased 25.23% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives MetroPCS a B- grade with a buy rating and $13.66 price target.
  • Goldman Sachs Group (GS): The stock increased 5.2% on Thursday to $121.13. The stock has risen 33.95% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Goldman Sachs a B- grade with a buy rating and $132.99 price target.
  • Valero Energy (VLO): The stock rose 4.94% on Thursday to $25.70. The stock has increased 22.09% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Valero Energy a B- grade with a buy rating and $29.80 price target.
  • GameStop (GME): The stock increased 4.65% on Thursday to $23.84. The stock has fallen 1.2% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives GameStop a B grade with a buy rating and $27.27 price target.
  • Perrigo (PRGO): The stock rose 3.94% on Thursday to $107.12. The stock has increased 10.09% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Perrigo an A- grade with a buy rating and $126 price target.
  • Monsanto (MON): The stock increased 3.58% on Thursday to $80.15. The stock has risen 14.39% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Monsanto a B grade with a buy rating and $97.44 price target.
  • Morgan Stanley (MS): The stock rose 3.51% on Thursday to $19.19. The stock has increased 26.83% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Morgan Stanley a C- grade and hold rating.
  • Lincoln National (LNC): The stock increased 3.38% on Thursday to $25.68. The stock has risen 32.23% year to date. TheStreet Ratings gives Lincoln National a C grade and hold rating.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian in New York.

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