The growth story of Pinnacle Financial Partners was spotlighted this week by well-known market publication Investor's Business Daily, which quotes an analyst as saying the company's recent acquisitions of CapitalMark Bank & Trust and Magna Bank provide a clear long-term growth path. Another noteworthy item: CFO Harold Carpenter says the company will finish the year having hired 20 lenders from regional competitors. That's double the 2014 number and means a handful of people have or will come aboard this quarter.
Veteran Wells Fargo analyst Gary Lieberman says the guidance raise by HCA Holdings Wednesday looks to be on the conservative side given that the benefits of health care reform aren't going to end anytime soon. He has reiterated his 'outperform' rating on shares of HCA, which jumped 10 percent (Ticker: HCA) to a record high. On the flip side, Paula Torch at Avondale tells Investor's Business Daily that HCA is proving (again) to be best in class.
Shares of shoe and hat retailer Genesco (Ticker: GCO) are up 11 percent in the past three months and 60 percent in a year, but the technicians at Investor's Business Daily say it still has room to run: "You could view the retailer as trying to break out past a 65.03 buy point from a square-box base, or see it as rebounding off its 10-week moving average. In any case, volume hasn’t been as strong as you would prefer to see."
The company will report its fourth-quarter results March 2. Analysts are expecting $1.67 per share, but it's worth pointing out that CEO Bob Dennis and his team have handily beaten estimates the past three quarters.
Scott Stoddard at Investor's Business Daily says shares of Nashville-based shoe and hat retailer Genesco are working on a "third-stage base-on-base pattern" and could take off again once the overall market starts to rise. The stock (Ticker: GCO) is up more than 50 percent in 2011.
In checking in with home-improvement giants Home Depot and Lowe's, Investor's Business Daily takes a quick detour to outline what's driving Tractor Supply's growth these days. A big key to the success of the Brentwood-based company — the stock is up 95 percent in the past year — was a 2008 decision to emphasize smaller-dollar items.
"They've done a great job of managing their merchandise mix," Hood says. "A bigger piece of their business is coming from pet and livestock food, and that creates some stability in traffic and that carried them through the downturn."
James Wright, CEO of Brentwood, Tenn.-based Tractor Supply, says creating a reservoir of staff knowledge helps retain both customers and employees. "Only with longevity of staff can we build deep category expertise," he said. Since many customers own horses, staffers with four-legged expertise can offer advice on horse training, nutrition and care, and speak the "horse language," Wright says. The staffers, called team members at Tractor Supply, build rapport, develop close ties with customers and close a sale, which leads to return customers.
"Casual dining in general has been extremely aggressive with promotions, but Cracker Barrel doesn't have to do that," Farmer said. "They have a built-in price value. A big chunk of these consumers are north of 50 years old, so it's a pretty wired customer base."
More discouraging for the unions is that their standing in the Gallup survey has never been lower. As recently as 2004, their confidence score was 31%. True, this is just one survey, but it does suggest the public sees union greed and corporate greed as near cousins. And Americans still root for the up-and-coming entrepreneur against just about anyone, including union organizers.
POSTDATA: WARRANTY DEEDS