How to Profit From

Earnings Trends and Surprises

Zacks Investment Research has been analyzing earnings trends and surprises since 1979. Based on that experience we have developed the Zacks Rank.

The Zacks Rank rates stocks on a five point scale. But what does this rating mean and how can you use it to improve your investing performance? We'll answer that below.

The Zacks Rank forecasts the future price movement of a stock."Future" is an important word here. It's not a rating of past performance but future movement.

Why is that so significant?

Not to sound blunt, but the past is done. The future of a stock is all that matters.

That's exactly what the Zacks Rank predicts.

Let's explain with a bit of history. In the 1970s, Len Zacks worked as the head of quantitative research for a major brokerage firm. Holding a Ph.D. from MIT, Len created models designed to help investors beat the market.

After extensive research and testing, Len discovered that:

Earnings estimate revisions are the most powerful force impacting stock prices.

From that discovery, the Zacks Rank was born. By using four factors about earnings estimate revisions, the Zacks Rank can accurately predict which stocks are most likely to beat the market over the next three months. And conversely, which are most likely to underperform the market.

Strong Buys, rated #1 by Zacks, are most likely to beat the market.History bears this out as since 1988, the Zacks Rank #1 stocks have gained 26% on average each year compared to 9% by the S&P 500 for the same time.

Strong Sells, rated #5 by Zacks, are those stocks most likely to underperform the market. Again, for more than two decades, this fact has been proven as the Zacks Rank #5 stocks deliver a measly 2% annual average return.

For more detail, check out this chart which breaks down the performance of all five of the Zacks Rank stocks.

Zacks Rank Performance
Zacks Rank Annualized
#1  - Strong Buy 26.1%
#2 - Buy 18.2%
#3 - Hold 9.3%
#4 - Sell 3.7%
#5 - Strong Sell 1.5%
S&P 500 8.9%

As you can see, knowing the Zacks Rank of your stocks can help you significantly buy better stocks and sell poor performers.

It's easy to learn more about the Zacks Rank and use it in your investing:

  • Learn our Bull and Bear of the Day stocks
  • Download our free Zacks Rank Guide
  • View our educational video series

And that's in addition to insightful market commentary, proven screening strategies, and mutual fund ideas, backed by our Zacks Mutual Fund Rank.

All free with no obligation to buy.

Just sign up for our free email newsletter, Profit from the Pros.Each business day, you'll get a wealth of trading intelligence and stock picks proven to beat the market. Don't wait, sign up now!

Email Address

Please provide your e-mail address:
Please repeat your e-mail address:
Click to view our Privacy Policy  
-OR- provides investment resources and informs you of these resources,which you may choose to use in making your own investment decisions. Zacks is providing information on this resource to you subject to the Zacks "Terms and Conditions of Service" disclaimer.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit for information about the performance numbers displayed above.