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.
The Zacks Premium service makes this easier. It features 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 of these can help you quickly identify what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today's hottest industries.
It also includes the Focus List, a long-term portfolio of top stocks that have all the elements to beat the market.
Breaking Down the Zacks Focus List
If you could get access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investment portfolio, wouldn't you jump at the chance to take a peek?
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.
What makes the Focus List even more helpful is that each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, which explains the reasoning behind every stock's selection and why we believe it's a good pick 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 are expectations of growth and profitability, and are determined by brokerage analysts. Together with company management, these analysts examine every aspect that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.
Earnings estimate revisions are very important, since investors also need to take into consideration what a company will earn in the future.
The stocks that receive positive changes to earnings estimates are more likely to receive even more upward changes in the future. Take this example: if an analyst raised their estimates last month, they'll probably do so again this month, and other analysts will follow.
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.
It can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates, as stock prices respond to revisions. By adding Focus List stocks, there's a great chance you'll be getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, which can lead to price momentum.
Focus List Spotlight: ICF International ( ICFI Quick Quote ICFI - Free Report)
Headquartered in Fairfax, VA, ICF International, Inc. is a provider of professional services and technology-based solutions to government and commercial clients. The company’s primary services include advisory, analytics, digital, engagement and program implementation services. These services are offered in four markets namely, energy, environment and infrastructure; health, education, and social programs; safety and security, and consumer and financial.
ICFI, a #2 (Buy) stock, was added to the Focus List on April 23, 2018 at $66.60 per share. Since then, shares have increased 35.86% to $90.48.
Three analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.08 to $4.57. ICFI boasts an average earnings surprise of 27.7%.
Moreover, analysts are expecting ICFI's earnings to grow 9.6% for the current fiscal year.
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