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2 Surprising Nasdaq Stocks Hitting All-Time Highs Thursday

By Dan Caplinger – Sep 16, 2021 at 1:07PM

Key Points

  • The Nasdaq fell with the rest of the market on Thursday at midday.
  • However, two stocks hit new all-time highs -- and they weren't in the high-growth tech sector.
  • Avis Budget and Tractor Supply both appear to have solid prospects for further gains.

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Neither one is a tech company.

The stock market has entered a turbulent period, and even the high-performing Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -2.00%) hasn't been able to avoid the air pockets in the market. As of just before noon EDT on Thursday, the Nasdaq was down more than half a percent, despite remaining within a few percentage points of its record levels.

With the index falling, it's not surprising that many of the tech giants that play such an influential role in the Nasdaq are on the decline. Yet there are some Nasdaq stocks outside technology that are moving up to all-time highs on Thursday. Below, we'll look more closely at how Avis Budget Group (CAR -1.21%) and Tractor Supply (TSCO -1.73%) are defying a down market.

Driving higher in the rental car industry

Avis Budget Group had a huge day on Thursday, climbing more than 10%. That put the stock price close to the $100-per-share mark as the rental car giant continued the massive run in 2021 that put it into record territory.

Two people looking at a tablet, with Avis signage and uniform.

Image source: Avis Budget Group.

Today's boost for Avis Budget came from favorable comments about the company on Wall Street. In particular, Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC) BofA Securities upgraded Avis Budget's stock from neutral to buy.

BofA believes that the factors that have helped Avis Budget and the rental car industry more broadly are likely to persist through the end of the year and into 2022. Those include limited supplies of new cars and trucks due to the semiconductor supply chain shortages that major automakers are facing, as well as lower fleet maintenance costs and the premium pricing power that rental car companies have had in light of supply and demand imbalances.

Summer tends to be Avis Budget's busiest season, and even the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped travelers from hitting the road in 2021. That bodes well for Avis Budget as it continues to navigate challenges effectively and maximize its short-term profit opportunities.

A different kind of growth

Elsewhere, shares of farm retail specialist Tractor Supply rose a more modest 1.5%. That was still enough to take the stock to record levels, continuing a run into uncharted territory that has lasted for most of the past 18 months.

Tractor Supply has enjoyed business strength even in a tough retail environment. In its second-quarter financial report back in July, the company saw a 13% rise in revenue on 10.5% gains in comparable-store sales. Those numbers might not look all that healthy, but they come in the context of even faster growth at the beginning of the pandemic in the second quarter of 2020.

Tractor Supply sees the good times lasting well into the future. The company boosted its earnings guidance by almost 10% to a new range of $7.70 to $8 per share, and it boasted all-time highs for customer retention and the size of its Neighbor's Club loyalty rewards program.

Investors have benefited from rising dividends from Tractor Supply as well. With so many people looking to escape big cities and reinvent their lives in more rural areas, the company stands to gain from the demographic trends that could drive more customers through its doors and onto its e-commerce site. Add to that the prospects of acquisition-driven expansion in a highly fragmented market, and Tractor Supply looks to have a lot further to run.

Bank of America is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Tractor Supply. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Avis Budget Group Stock Quote
Avis Budget Group
$194.07 (-1.21%) $-2.38
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
$11,014.89 (-2.00%) $-225.05
Tractor Supply Stock Quote
Tractor Supply
$217.13 (-1.73%) $-3.82

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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