The past month’s rousing market rally has been a rising tide lifting all boats. Every sector has participated in the broad-based boom, and some industries have even reclaimed all that was lost during December’s disaster. The action in retail stocks has been particularly strong with many attractive stocks to buy.
To assess the action, we’ll use the SPDR Retail ETF (NYSE:XRT), which counts all of the sector’s biggest companies among its holdings. Since bottoming at $38.10, XRT has climbed 15% to test the descending 50-day moving average. Two bullish developments from the past week suggest further upside could be in the offing.
First, the down-gap caused by lousy earnings news from Macy’s (NYSE:M) on Jan. 10 was rapidly reversed showing dip buyers remain aggressive. Second, XRT’s ability to hold firm in the face of overhead resistance suggests sellers are thus far powerless to turn the fund lower.
With that said, here are three retail stocks to buy that stand out among the rest in the space.
Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY)
Bed Bath and Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) entered this month’s earnings release in desperate need of a positive catalyst. Deteriorating fundamentals have driven BBBY stock down as much as 87% from its 2013 peak before the recent rebound. Fortunately, the company was able to deliver earnings that beat estimates (18 cents versus 17 cents) and report improved guidance for 2019.
The stock soared almost 30% in the three days after earnings before pulling back on profit-taking. This three-day retracement is creating an attractive low-risk entry for traders anticipating further upside. BBBY is now above its 20-day and 50-day moving averages, so bulls have wrested control of the short-term trend. And volume patterns look constructive with large volume accompanying the breakout and light volume during this week’s retreat.
Once BBBY breaks above a prior day’s high, buy the May $14/$19 bull call spread for around $1.75. The risk is limited to $1.75, and the reward is limited to $3.25.
The technical posture of Nike (NYSE:NKE) has improved considerably since Christmas. With the 18% rally off the lows, NKE stock has climbed back above all major moving averages, returning to key horizontal resistance near $79. This level has kept a lid on the shares ever since October, which means its eventual break will signal a major victory for bulls.
It will also set Nike shares up for a run toward their 2018 high of $86.04.
Implied volatility has come in considerably, making long premium plays more tempting than short ones. Buy the March $80/$85 bull call spread for around $1.50. The risk is limited to $1.50, and the reward is capped at $3.50.
Lululemon Athletica (LULU)
Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU) rounds out today’s trio and carries one of the best looking charts in the retail sector. Its recent trend reversal higher received a boost on Monday when the company raised its guidance for fourth-quarter earnings. LULU stock gapped up and has continued climbing each day since.
It’s now testing an important horizontal resistance threshold around $147. Breaking above it should clear the runway for a ramp toward its all-time high of $164.79. And with all major moving averages now rising beneath the price, I see few reasons why LULU won’t continue pushing north.
To bank on the continued upside, buy the March $145/$155 bull call spread for $4.25. The risk is limited to $4.25, and the reward is limited to $5.75.
As of this writing, Tyler Craig didn’t hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Check out his recently released Bear Market Survival Guide to learn how to protect your portfolio against a crash.