LULU, MJN, AEO, PIR Hit 52-Week Highs (Update 1)

Updated to include Lululemon and Mead Johnson Nutrition

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Retailers American Eagle Outfitters ( AEO), Lululemon ( LULU) and Pier 1 Imports ( PIR) as well as food products company Mead Johnson Nutrition ( MJN) hit 52-week highs on Thursday.

All of the stocks received buy ratings at TheStreet Ratings.

Lululemon

The retailer reported Thursday fourth-quarter earnings of $73.52 million, or 51 cents a share, up from year-ago earnings of $55 million, or 39 cents a share. Analysts were anticipating earnings of 49 cents.

"With average annual comp store productivity surpassing $2,000 per square foot and online sales more than doubling in the quarter, it is clear that LULU's customer base is rapidly growing and new product flows are very well received," D.A. Davidson analysts wrote in a March 22 report. "While 37 store openings and initial gross margin guidance were both slightly lower than expected, the overall takeaway from guidance was positive and we expect will move up over the year. Our primary concern remains valuation (45x 2012 P/E), which leaves little room for comp deceleration and makes us hesitant to recommend accumulating shares at current levels."

Shares of Lululemon hit a 52-week high on Thursday of $75.89. The stock's 52-week low of $38.18 was set one year ago.

Lululemon has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 36.92 times; the average for clothing and accessories companies is 24.74. For comparison, Gildan Activewear ( GIL) has a forward P/E of 12.55.

Thirteen of the 23 analysts who cover Lululemon rated it buy. Nine analysts gave the stock a hold rating and one rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Lululemon a B+ grade with a buy rating and a $97.44 price target. The stock has risen 63.12% year to date.

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American Eagle Outfitters

"With good acceptance of the spring line and key categories well received including denim, wovens, solid tees and shorts, CEO Hanson seems positive on the product line," Sterne Agee analysts wrote in a March 14 report. "Dresses, which have been a strong seller, will be expanded to capture more of the consumer wallet."

Shares of American Eagle Outfitters hit a 52-week high Thursday of $17.20. The stock's 52-week low of $10 was set on Sept. 6.

American Eagle Outfitters' forward P/E is 13.78; the average for apparel retailers is 17.6. For comparison, Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF) has a lower forward P/E of 11.64 times; Urban Outfitters' ( URBN) forward P/E is 15.85.

Sixteen of the 29 analysts who cover American Eagle Outfitters rated it hold. Eleven analysts gave the stock a buy rating and two rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives American Eagle Outfitters a B grade with a buy rating and a $19.28 price target. The stock has risen 11.58% year to date.


Pier 1 Imports

"For some time we have recommended Pier 1 Imports as one of the most compelling small-cap investment opportunities in the Hardlines Sector," Oppenheimer analysts wrote in a March 5 report. "We stress-tested our PIR financial model and reflected upon our investment thesis. Our conclusion: PIR has further room to run. Sales volumes at PIR have improved markedly lately, but remain well below prior peak levels. The forthcoming launch of e-commerce should represent an incremental top-line driver and enhanced marketing vehicle for PIR. Return-on-invested capital at PIR is climbing as sales and margins move higher in concert. Our new $20 price target (up from $17) implies upside potential of about 20% from current levels."

Shares of Pier 1 Imports hit a 52-week high Thursday of $18.42. The stock's 52-week low of $8.60 was set on Aug. 8.

Pier 1 Imports' forward P/E is 16.47; the average for home-improvement retailers is 13.9. For comparison, both Home Depot ( HD) and Lowe's ( LOW) have lower forward P/Es of 15.42 and 13.9, respectively.

Nine of the 13 analysts who cover Pier 1 Imports rated it buy. Three analysts gave the stock a hold rating and one rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Pier 1 Imports a B grade with a buy rating and a $21.84 price target. The stock has risen 31.08% year to date.

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Mead Johnson Nutrition

"We are reiterating our Buy rating on MJN because we like the robust emerging markets growth story," Wellington Shield analysts wrote in a March 15 report. "MJN derives 66% of sales and 72% of EBIT from emerging markets MJN also is the only company we follow that enjoys better than corporate average margins in emerging markets, because of higher selling prices and lower selling costs. Half of the company's growth comes from Asia. We estimate a long-term EPS growth of 12%."

Shares of Mead Johnson Nutrition hit a 52-week high Thursday of $82.59. The stock's 52-week low of $56.01 was set on March 23.

Mead Johnson Nutrition's forward P/E is 22.94; the average for food products companies is 13.54. For comparison, both ConAgra ( CAG) and Hormel Foods ( HRL) have lower forward P/Es of 13.43 and 15.01, respectively.

Ten of the 16 analysts who cover Mead Johnson Nutrition rated it buy; six analysts gave the stock a hold rating.

TheStreet Ratings gives Mead Johnson Nutrition a B- grade with a buy rating and a $99.34 price target. The stock has risen 19.67$% year to date.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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