Funds are buying shares of these 8 retail stocks

By James Dennin for Kapitall.

Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the US economy as a whole, so naturally it makes sense that a top priority of economic officials is to get Americans spending more. 

One sign that efforts to prompt spending are working is that August's retail numbers climbed even more than expected at the fastest rate in four months

The main causes of the increased spending were lower gas prices and rising unemployment, although Fed Chair Janet Yellen has reiterated that wages need to climb much more for the recovery to be felt by all Americans. 

One sector that benefits the most from higher consumer spending is retail. Retailers often rely on foot-traffic and seasonality to make a lot of their money—think about how you see Halloween candy in the windows earlier and earlier each year. 

When Americans have more money to spend, a major beneficiary will be the places Americans like to shop. So with that in mind, we decided to build a screen around retailers. 

To do that, we started with the S&P Retail Select Industry Index, a universe of 120 stocks. We then narrowed that list by looking for signs of increased institutional purchasing from groups like pensions and hedge funds

This left us with eight stocks on our list. Do you think retail will have a strong holiday season going forward? Use the list below to begin your analysis, and let us know what you think in the comments. 

Click on the interactive chart to view data over time. 

 

1. American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. ( AEO): Operates as an apparel and accessories retailer in the United States and Canada. Market cap at $2.67B, most recent closing price at $13.71.  

Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 17.4M shares, which represents about 10.3% of the company's float of 169.01M shares. 

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