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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of apparel maker V.F. Corp (NYSE: VFC ) cracked $100 a share to set a new 52-week high after raising its 2011 revenue and earnings forecasts to levels well above what analysts had expected.
So what: Management guided to 8% to 9% revenue growth and $7 to $7.10 in per-share earnings for the year ahead. Wall Street had expected 5.6% and $6.79, respectively.
Now what: For V.F., the outlook builds upon excellent fourth-quarter results. Revenue improved 11%, to $2.13 billion. Adjusted profits grew 10%, to $1.78 per share. Analysts had been calling for $2.03 billion and $1.64 per share.
Outdoor gear was the largest contributor to revenue and profit. Revenue in the segment that sells The North Face adventure equipment and Vans apparel rose 20% overall and 32% internationally. Operating profit rose 27%, thanks in part to a small margin gains.
Today's rally suggests investors believe more outperformance is on the horizon. But can that really be the case with cotton prices rising fast? During this morning's earnings call, CEO Eric Wiseman said gross margin should decline a little less than 1 percentage point as a result of rising costs, but that's all. Efficient planning and targeted price increases should offset most of the effects of a piping hot commodities market.