Retail Stocks Present Holiday Gifts For Investors

by: Quoth the Raven

Are you in retail stocks like Target (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) that have strong records of being catalyzed by holiday sales?

If so, it looks like they may be worth holding on to if you're thinking of taking profits or tax-loss selling before the year end, even on the heels of the impressive year that the retail index has had.

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It's no secret that many companies, especially those in retail, rely on the fourth quarter of the year to bolster yearly results and keep momentum behind their stock both through tax loss selling season and the holiday hangover that comes with the start to a new year.

This morning, several venues seem to giving a nod to the fact that we may be looking at strong growth in consumer holiday spending.

It was reported by the Wall Street Journal this morning:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT -0.02% and Target Corp. TGT -0.73% reported strong Thanksgiving Day traffic in stores and online, noting that shoppers were focused on big-ticket electronic products.

The retailers didn't provide specific sales figures but tried to suggest that their decisions to open earlier on the holiday were successful. Wal-Mart and Target were among a number of retailers that opened on Thanksgiving Day-at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively-in an effort to boost struggling sales in a tight economy and keep up with online retailers.

Wal-Mart said it recorded more than 10 million register transactions between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday in its stores and nearly 400 million page views that day on Target said sales were among the highest it had seen in a single day online, and it booked twice as many orders on its website as last year in the early hours when door-busters became available.

Additionally, published a report this morning that acknowledges that e-commerce spending from desktop computers is up 14% year over year:

U.S. ecommerce spending from desktop computers for the first 24 days of November jumped 14 percent year on year to $18.912 billion, which is in line with forecast, according to comScore Inc. November 19 was the heaviest online shopping day so far, registering $963 million in online retail sales.

In addition to in store retailers, online retailers like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and (NASDAQ:OSTK) are likely to perform well through the holiday season.

Investors will want to carefully pick and choose what gains to realize and which stocks to sell off before the end of the year to avoiding having to possibly buy back in at higher prices in 2014.

While anyone that reads me consistently knows that I strongly advocate always taking profits, this is an instance where a calculated risk of holding stocks affected by holiday shopping could lead to a very merry holiday season for investors.

Best of luck to all investors.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.