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The Value of Good Advice

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Rebounding businesses and strong businesses alike share a tempered optimism as they plan future growth.  Not only must expansion be capable, it must be durable against challenges both economic and physical. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Wise men don’t need good advice and fools won’t take it.”  For everyone in between, consultants are the solution.

The 20 companies which comprise the Consulting sector of the Zacks Industry Rank list gained 15 positions last week.  The industry now holds a rank of #26 out of 260 ranked industries.  With 23 positive earnings revisions and 12 negative, upward revisions are beating the downside nearly 2-to-1.  Add to this that the average positive Earnings per Share (EPS) surprise has been +19%, and it doesn’t take a sage to see there’s new strength here  

Below are two companies that have proven their worth, moving last week to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) from a “Hold” or “Sell” rating.  They both currently hold an “Outperform” rating on the Zacks Recommendation.  This trend could give momentum to future positive performance for these stocks in response to upcoming earnings estimate revisions.  Taking individual performance into account when analyzing industry movement is helpful in understanding the fundamentals of this change.

Much like Zacks, each of the following businesses seeks to provide the best outcome for those they engage.

Stantec Inc. (STN - Free Report)

STN was upgraded to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) last week from #3 (Hold).  

Stantec Inc. provides professional consulting services in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying and geomatics (aka providing spatial geographic information).  Aside from strong revenue numbers and key contracts, such as the Los Angeles subway project, Stantec is also benefitting from a recent rebranding effort which seeks to unify and promote the company’s organic growth.

STN pays a dividend of 0.96% and its last earnings surprise was +20%.  The company reports its next quarterly earnings on February 2, 2014.

Towers Watson (TW)

TW is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).  It moved up from a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) last week.  

Towers Watson & Co. is a global professional services company that helps organizations improve performance through effective people skills training, risk monitoring, and financial management. It offers solutions in the areas of employee benefits, talent management, executive compensation, rewards, M&A and capital management

TW’s last earnings surprise was +16% and 2014 consensus EPS annual estimates have moved higher. This company reports quarterly earnings on February 6, 2014.

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