This is our short term rating system that serves as a timeliness indicator for stocks over the next 1 to 3 months. How good is it? See rankings and related performance below.
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The five best performing stocks on the Zacks #1 Rank List last month were: AeroCentury Corporation (ACY), FEI Company (FEIC - Snapshot Report), CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF - Analyst Report), Intevac, Inc. (IVAC - Snapshot Report) and Hurco Companies, Inc. (HURC - Snapshot Report).
AeroCentury Corporation (ACY) is the top-performing company for the second consecutive month. The stock has soared in value over the past two months, ending February with a year-to-date return of nearly 120%.
The aircraft operating lessor and finance company announced net earnings per share 35 cents per share, nine cents above expectations and 350% above the same quarter a year prior. The company stated that it is extremely pleased with the growth in operating lease revenue for the year, which it considers the most important measure of its performance.
FEI Company (FEIC - Snapshot Report), which provides instruments for nanoscale imaging, analysis and prototyping, was one of the best-performing Zacks #1 Rank companies in February with a gain of 30%. In addition, the company reached 52-week highs on Feb 7, Feb 9 and Feb 21. On Feb 6, FEI Company reported fourth-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations of 30 cents, reversing a year-ago loss and eclipsing the consensus by almost 58%. Net sales jumped 41% year over year to $140.3 million.
FEI Company, which was also featured as a top-performing Zacks #1 Rank stock for the week ended Feb 9, forecasted first-quarter earnings per share and net sales that were ahead of the consensus at the time. Earnings estimates for the quarter ending this month are up 26% over the past 30 days, while expectations for the year ending December 2007 advanced 17.5% in the same timeframe.
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF - Analyst Report) announced solid fourth-quarter numbers early last month as the fall season brought increased demand in nitrogen and phosphate. Net sales reached $506.2 million in the quarter, marking a 9% advance year over year from $463 million. Earnings per share increased from the year-ago quarter as well. For the full year, net sales advanced 2% to more than $1.9 billion.
Earnings estimates for the year ending December 2007 are up 8.8% in the past month, including 3.8% in the past seven trading days. CF Industries Holdings, which hit 52-week highs each day from Feb 21 through Feb 23, rose 27% in February. The company was also a top performer for the week ended Feb 23. On Mar 1, CF Industries Holdings was featured as a Value stock of the day on Zacks.com.
Intevac, Inc. (IVAC - Snapshot Report) announced solid results for its fourth quarter and full year, including all-time revenue records for both periods, and was featured as a Timely Buy on Zacks.com last week. Earnings per share for the quarter doubled from a year ago and bettered Wall Street expectations by approximately 33%. Revenues hit a record $95.9 million, including $92.8 million of Equipment revenues and $3.1 million of Imaging revenues. This compares year over year to net revenues of $52.7 million. For the full year, revenues increased by 89%.
This Zacks #1 Rank company advanced by 23% in February. Earnings estimates for the quarter ending this month and the year ending December 2007 have improved by 21% and 27% respectively over the past month.
Hurco Companies, Inc. (HURC - Snapshot Report) advanced 17% in February, after making the top performers list for the week ending Feb 16. The companys fiscal first quarter performance has been the boon for this industrial technology company, as earnings per share of 84 cents surged from 48 cents a year earlier and topped the consensus by about 42.4%. Sales service fees improved 47% to $46.9 million, reflecting a significant improvement in demand, especially in European markets, and increased shipments of its larger and more highly-priced machines in those markets.
Hurco Companies reached 52-week highs each day from Feb 20 through Feb 22. Earnings estimates for the quarter ending in April are up 5.8% over the past month, and have improved approximately 7.1% for the year ending October 2007.
Since 1988, Zacks #1 Rank stocks have generated an annual average return of 32.4%, proving that earnings estimate revisions are the most powerful force driving stock prices. Learn more about harnessing the power of estimate revisions with the Zacks Rank Guide.
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