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5 Safe Growth Bets as We Enter 2021

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Investor sentiment in 2020 has been on a rollercoaster. We started off with a robust economy that was beaten down to multi-year lows by a health issue that remains at large.

However, it’s a known devil now.  So we aren’t as scared of it as we used to be. Even before the vaccine was available, death rates had dropped to under 2%, signifying that although more contagious, this was hardly more fatal than the common flu. So with therapeutics being where it is today and vaccines already rolling out, there are good chances that we will soon be on the other side of this.

And to tide us over, there’s another stimulus package to help those that still need it. There’s also the promise that interest rates will remain at 0 until 2023. This will breathe new life into Wall Street even as corporate balance sheets continue to improve.

So the fourth quarter earnings growth expectations have moved steadily up from -14.4% in July to -11.0% last week. It’s currently expected that growth will return in 2021 with total quarterly earnings of the S&P 500 exceeding 2019 levels by the third quarter.

As you must already know, the markets are forward looking. So all of the above point to opportunity you do not want to miss. So how can you invest today for a better 2021?

Your safest bet is to stick to tried and tested methods and then also check with the experts.

That was my main focus when I picked these stocks today-

Enova International, Inc. (ENVA - Free Report)

The company is an online provider of consumer loans with customers across the U.S., the UK, Australia and Canada. It focuses on people that have bank accounts but limited access to traditional consumer credit from banks, thrifts, credit card companies and other lenders. That’s what brings them to alternative financial credit services.

ENVA shares carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), a Value Score A, Growth Score A, Momentum Score C and a VGM Score A. This means that the shares would be attractive to everyone, irrespective of their risk appetite and growth targets.

The company operates in the Financial - Consumer Loans industry, which is in the top 18% of Zacks-classified industries. Companies in the top 50% outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of 2 to1. But the higher up you go, the better it gets. So obviously, this industry is doing extremely well in the current environment. It has been seen historically that the group to which a stock belongs is responsible for half its price movement, making this a good place to put your money.

The company has grown revenue and earnings by 17.6% and 41.2%, respectively in the last 5 years. So it’s a very solid company with a proven track record.

As of now, 2020 and 2021 estimates have moved up 63.6% and 8.3%, respectively since the last earnings report, indicating a positive trend.

And if you’re still not convinced, you might want to take a look at the average broker recommendation, which at 1.40, is even better than the average recommendation of 2.06 for the industry (1 is Strong Buy, 2 Buy, 3 Hold, 4 Sell and 5 Strong Sell). This means the stock is expected to do better than the industry to which it belongs.

Malibu Boats, Inc. (MBUU - Free Report)

Malibu Boats designs, manufactures and markets Malibu and Axis Wake Research brands of sports boats primarily in the U.S. These boats are used for water sports including water skiing, wakeboarding and wake surfing as well as for general recreational boating use.

The company’s shares carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), a Value Score B, Growth Score A, Momentum Score D and VGM Score A.

They belong in the Leisure and Recreation Products industry, which is in the top 9% of Zacks classified industries.

MBUU has grown revenue and earnings by 32.8% and 34.0%, respectively in the last 5 years.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current and next fiscal years have gone up a respective 8.5% and 7.3% since the last earnings report, signaling that growth will continue.

The average broker rating is 1.43, better than the industry’s 1.59.

MYR Group, Inc. (MYRG - Free Report)

MYR Group is a holding company of leading specialty contractors, catering to electric transmission and distribution networks and substation facilities that make up the electrical infrastructure market across the U.S. and Canada.

Their comprehensive services include design, engineering, procurement, construction, upgrade, maintenance and repair services.

Transmission and distribution customers include investor-owned utilities, cooperatives, private developers, government-funded utilities, independent power producers, independent transmission companies, industrial facility owners and other contractors. Commercial and industrial electrical contracting services are provided to general contractors, commercial and industrial facility owners, local governments and developers generally throughout the western and northeastern United States and western Canada.

The shares carry a Zacks Rank #2, Value Score B, Growth Score A, Momentum Score F and VGM Score A.

MYRG belongs to the Electric Construction industry, which is in the top 4% of Zacks classified industries.

And it isn’t just the industry. The company itself has grown revenue and earnings by 18.7% and 25.8%, respectively in the last 5 years.

For instance, the 2020 and 2021 estimates are up 8.8% and 6.0%, respectively after results were reported for the last quarter.

The average broker rating is 2.00, which is the same as for the industry.

Nexstar Media Group, Inc (NXST - Free Report)

Nexstar Broadcasting Group currently owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to television stations in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and New York. Nexstar's television station group includes affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and UPN.

The shares carry a Zacks Rank #2, Value Score A, Growth Score B, Momentum Score C and VGM Score A

They belong to the Broadcast Radio and Television industry, which is in the top 39% of Zacks classified industries.

NXST has grown revenue and earnings by 37.8% and 34.3%, respectively in the last 5 years.

After stellar results in the last quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimates for 2020 and 2021 are up a respective 11.1% and 6.5%.

The average broker recommendation is currently 1.00 compared to the industry’s 1.82.

The E.W. Scripps Company (SSP - Free Report)

The E.W. Scripps Company offers businesses and others a growing portfolio of television, print and digital media brands.

Scripps also produces television programming (it’s one of the nation's largest independent TV station owners). It runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., multi-platform satire and humor brand Cracked, an expanding collection of local and national digital journalism and information businesses, podcast industry leader Midroll Media and over-the-top video news service Newsy.

It also serves as the long-time steward of one of the nation's longest-running and most successful educational programs, Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The shares carry a Zacks Rank #2 Value Score B, Growth Score A, Momentum Score D and VGM Score A

The company is part of the Broadcast Radio and Television industry, which is in the top 37% of Zacks-classified industries.

SSP has grown revenue and earnings by 17.1% and 12.5%, respectively in the last 5 years.

Following strong September quarter results, the 2020 and 2021 estimates rose 51.4% and 3.0%, respectively.

The average broker recommendation on this stock is 1.40 compared to the industry’s 1.82.

Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2021

In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top tickers for the entirety of 2021?

These 10 are painstakingly hand-picked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. They are our primary picks to buy and hold. Start Your Access to the New Zacks Top 10 Stocks >>