Will Pressure From Investors Lead Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works to Split Into 2 Stocks?

After Gap Inc. recently announced it would separate its Old Navy brand from the Gap and Banana Republic brands, L Brands has come under pressure from investors to consider a similar strategy.

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By Andrew Osterland • Mar 13, 2019

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The good news/bad news economy took a turn for the better today lifting stock prices across the market.

January spending on construction and non-defense durable goods was up 1.3 percent and 0.8 percent respectively, according to data released by the Commerce Department this morning. That suggests a healthy rebound from a weak economy at year-end.

Technology stocks led the market higher again today, lifting the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 indexes by 0.69 percent each. The Dow index was up 0.58 percent and the Entrepreneur Index™ gained 0.61 percent.

NVIDIA Corp., one of the hottest semiconductor stocks over the last three years but one of the hardest hit by the plunge in the sector over the last six months, had the biggest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™ today. It rose 3.75 percent. On Monday, the stock popped nearly seven percent after the company announced a $6.8 billion deal to buy Israeli chip designer Mellanox Technologies.

Today, Citi analyst Atif Malik reiterated his buy on the stock with a price target of $200. It currently trades at $169. A dip in demand from crypto-currency miners and possibly hard-core gamers for the graphics processing units that the company makes led to an inventory bulge and falling prices. Malik suggested that NVIDIA's Mar. 19 investor day meeting could provide an opportunity for the company to "improve the growth narrative." The stock is up 26.3 percent this year but still down 42 percent from its high set last October.

L Brands was also up sharply today, gaining 3.12 percent. After Gap Inc. recently announced it would separate its Old Navy brand from the Gap and Banana Republic brands, L Brands has come under pressure from investors to consider a similar strategy. The company's Victoria's Secret lingerie stores have been losing market share for years, while its Bath & Body Works stores or growing nicely. Earlier this month, activist investor Barington Capital called on the company to consider a spin-off of Victoria's Secret or an IPO of Bath & Body Works. The shares are up 5.2 percent this year and down 35.5 percent in the last twelve months.

Costco Wholesale Corp. was up 1.47 percent today. The shares continue to move higher after the retailer handily beat earnings estimates last week. The stock is up almost ten percent since Costco reported financial results after the market closed last Thursday. Other good gains on the Entrepreneur Index™ included Tesla (1.85 percent), Jefferies Financial Group (1.81 percent) and Hess Corp. (1.49 percent).

Only eleven of sixty stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ were down today. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals had the biggest decline, falling 2.06 percent. Other losses were posted by homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. (-1.09 percent), clothing-maker Ralph Lauren Corp. (-0.95 percent) and Cognizant Technology (-0.79 percent).

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.

Andrew Osterland

Andrew Osterland is a contributing writer for CNBC.com. He specializes in capital markets, personal finance and taxes.

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