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Brinker International

"Brinker has been our top pick in casual dining and we continue to remain positive on the stock following management meetings with stabilizing comps, margin initiatives on target, and FCF-driven share repurchase providing EPS cushion to above average 20-25% growth in F13 and at least low double digits thereafter," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a March 21 report.

Shares of Brinker International hit a 52-week high on Wednesday of $29.31. The stock's 52-week low of $19.50 was set on Sept. 12.

Brinker International's forward P/E is 13.22; the average for restaurant and bar companies is 19.4. For comparison, both Cracker Barrel ( CBRL) and DineEquity ( DIN) have lower forward P/Es of 12.15 and 11.98, respectively.

Analysts were split on Brinker International with eight rating the stock a buy, another eight giving it a hold rating and four rating it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Brinker International an A- grade with a buy rating and a $35.39 price target. The stock has risen 8% year to date.


Ross Stores

"ROST benefited from both multiple expansion and earnings revisions - beating the high end of its initial 2011 plans by $0.31 - while TJX has kept Street estimates essentially unchanged - beating the high end of its initial 2011 plan by just $0.02 (upside has been all valuation)," JPMorgan analysts wrote in a March 20 report. "Coming into 2012, we see a slightly different setup, as ROST should continue its 'under-promise, over-deliver' mantra, while TJX may now be the company that has more upside left on the table in 2012."

Shares of Ross Stores hit a 52-week high Wednesday of $57.53. The stock's 52-week low of $33.50 was set on Aug. 18.

Ross Stores' forward P/E is 15.57; the average for apparel retailers is 17.16. For comparison, Aeropostale ( ARO) has a lower forward P/E of 14.6; Express' ( EXPR) forward P/E is 11.74.

Fourteen of the 27 analysts who cover Ross Stores rated it hold; 13 analysts gave the stock a buy rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Ross Stores an A+ grade with a buy rating and a $73.96 price target. The stock has risen 20.49% year to date.

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