Here at Zacks, we offer our members many different opportunities to take full advantage of the stock market, as well as how to invest in ways that lead to long-term success.
One of our most popular services, Zacks Premium offers daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank; full access to the Zacks #1 Rank List; Equity Research reports; and Premium stock screens like the Earnings ESP filter. All are useful tools to find what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today's hottest industries.
Also included in Zacks Premium is the Focus List. This is a long-term portfolio of top stocks that have all the traits to beat the market.
Breaking Down the Zacks Focus List
If you could, wouldn't you jump at the chance for access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investing journey?
That's what the Zacks Focus List offers. It's a portfolio of 50 stocks that serve as a starting point for long-term investors to build their individual portfolios. The stocks included in the list are set to outperform the market over the next 12 months.
Additionally, each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, something that makes the Focus List even more valuable. The report explains in detail why each stock was picked and why we believe it's good for the long-term.
The portfolio's past performance only solidifies why investors should consider it as a starting point. For 2020, the Focus List gained 13.85% on an annualized basis compared to the S&P 500's return of 9.38%. Cumulatively, the portfolio has returned 2,519.23% while the S&P returned 854.95%. Returns are for the period of February 1, 1996 to March 31, 2021.
Focus List Methodology
When stocks are picked for the Focus List, it reflects our enduring reliance on the power of earnings estimate revisions.
Earnings estimates, or expectations of growth and profitability, come from brokerage analysts who track publicly traded companies; these analysts work together with company management to analyze every aspect that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.
Investors also need to look at what a company will earn down the road. This is why earnings estimate revisions are so important.
Stocks that receive upward earnings estimate revisions are more likely to receive even more upward changes in the future. For example, if an analyst raised their estimates last month, they're more likely to do it again this month, and other analysts are likely to do the same.
Utilizing the power of earnings estimate revisions is when the Zacks Rank joins the party. A unique, proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank uses changes to quarterly earnings expectations to help investors create a winning portfolio.
Four primary factors make up the Zacks Rank: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each is given a raw score that's recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank, and with this data, stocks are then classified into five groups, ranging from "Strong Buy" to "Strong Sell."
The Focus List is comprised of stocks hand-picked from a long list of #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) ranked companies, meaning that each new addition boasts a bullish earnings consensus among analysts.
Since stock prices respond to revisions, it can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates. By buying Focus List stocks, then, you're likely getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.
Focus List Spotlight: Walmart ( WMT Quick Quote WMT - Free Report)
Walmart Inc. has evolved from just being a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer into an omnichannel player. In this regard, acquisitions of Bonobos, Moosejaw and Parcel; partnership with Shopify and Goldman Sachs; delivery programs like Walmart + and Express Delivery; and investment in online e-commerce platform Flipkart are noteworthy. These position the company to keep pace with the changing retail ecosystem and stay firm in the presence of rivals like Amazon and Target. Markedly, Walmart’s product offerings include almost everything from grocery to cosmetics, electronics to stationery, home furnishings to health and wellness products, and apparel to entertainment products, to name a few.
Since being added to the Focus List on May 30, 2017 at $78.13 per share, shares of WMT have increased 81.35% to $141.69. The stock is currently a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank.
13 analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2022. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.45 to $5.87. WMT boasts an average earnings surprise of 17.8%.
Earnings for WMT are forecasted to see growth of 7.1% for the current fiscal year as well.
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