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Stocks That Are Raising the Bar

No one knows a company better than those who run it. That's why investors will often watch for when insiders are buying company stock or whether companies are buying back their own shares. These can be bullish signs for a company.

Raising earnings or sales guidance for the coming quarter or year is also a bullish sign, as over time earnings growth follows sales growth. When a company predicts greater sales profits, we expect its stock price to soon follow.

Sometimes, though, things don't work out as planned, so we'll pair up the increased outlook with the sentiments of more than 180,000 members of Motley Fool CAPS. If the best and brightest stock pickers think a company's long-term potential is outstanding, coupled with the company's own improved sentiment, maybe then investors should take notice, too.

Here are two stocks that have recently raised guidance..


CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Previous Estimate

New Estimate


Ocz Technology (NYSE: OCZ  ) *** $320 million-$350 million $360 million-$375 million FY 12
lululemon athletica (Nasdaq: LULU  ) ** $0.40-$0.42 $0.47-$0.49 Q4 11

Don't blindly buy into their heady outlook -- you still need to do some research. Use the announcement as a jumping-off point for additional research.

Raising their voices
Sometimes businesses make their chances, and other times they take them. Only the best can profit regardless of how the opportunities arise, and Ocz Technology is proving it can do just that. Last year it abandoned the DRAM market and bought solid-state drive controller design company Indilinx in a bid to continue upping the heat on peers like STEC (Nasdaq: STEC  ) . The enterprise SSD market has shown tremendous growth, but as STEC realized when its share price cratered after major customer EMC slowed its orders, lumpy growth can come especially for companies overly reliant on large customers. Ocz then purchased the systems-on-a-chip design team from PLX Technology and was handed an additional opportunity to gain ground on both because of the flooding situation in Thailand.

That seems to be paying off handsomely, as it once again raised its guidance in the face of the hard disk drive shortage driving customers to its products. It previously said it expected sales to come in at the high end because of shortages, but it seems to have had them coming in droves.

I had rated Ocz to outperform the market after its last guidance upgrade, and the latest results bear out that confidence. Add the drive maker to your watchlist to keep abreast of developments, and tell us on the Ocz Technology CAPS page whether you think it will maintain its lead after the region dries out.

One pant leg at a time
Luxury retailers like Coach and Tiffany have relied on international markets to supplement if not lead sales growth, but yoga-attire maker lululemon athletica has thus far relied almost solely on revenues derived from North America, though its online platform does cater to international customers.

It's a strategy that has worked well for the clothing retailer but makes it feel like it has left some money on the table. Yet it also points to where the next major avenue for growth lies should it chose to take that road.

In addition to raising earnings guidance, lululemon boosted expectations for same-store sales, saying they're expected to increase by a low- to mid-20s percentage range for the fourth quarter, well ahead of management's original forecast of increases in the low to mid-teens.

Whereas Tiffany reported faltering sales, CAPS member pchop123 might see lululemon as more akin to Coach, which has enjoyed steady growth regardless of conditions: "A luxury brand that people seem willing to spend on, in good economies and bad ones. A true Rule Breaker."

Add lululemon athletica to your watchlist to be notified as news and developments happen.

Raise your sights
These stocks may have raised expectations, but The Motley Fool found two small-cap stocks that have the potential to deliver multibagger returns based on solid government contracts. You can get instant access to these companies for free! But it's only for a limited time, so hurry.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of lululemon athletica, Coach, and Western Digital. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of lululemon athletica and Coach. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2012, at 1:57 PM, loudcld wrote:

    Your information is off a bit. During the cc the ceo said the hdd shortage had no material impact on revenue and will not until Q1. Q4 will end in Feb. They started building NAND flash wafer inventory. It takes 6-8 to package so I imagine it takes good 3 months to get the product out the door which would put it at the tail end of Q4. I expect big growth in 2012.

    Anyone interested in the company should read the transcript. Here is the link.

    I agree the company is making all the right moves.

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