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Reasons to Retain Charles River (CRAI) in Your Portfolio

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Shares of CRA International, Inc., that conducts business as Charles River Associates (CRAI - Free Report) , have gained 111.7% over the past year, outperforming the 42.8% rally of the industry  belongs to and 37.1% rise of the Zacks S&P 500 composite.

The company’s earnings for 2021 and 2022 are expected to grow 26.9% and 6.7% year over year, respectively.

Factors That Bode Well

Charles River has a diversified business with service offerings across areas of functional expertise, client base and geographical regions. Being proficient in multiple industries helps the company meet varying client needs and offer other innovative services. This also helps the company to know about business strategies adopted across the world. This multidisciplinary set up enables it to bring experts from all fields under one platform. The diversification in its business helps reduce the company’s dependence on any specific market, industry or geographic area. It also increases the company’s ability to adapt to changing conditions.

Charles River's professional team has helped the company achieve and maintain a solid reputation of providing high-quality consulting services. Almost three-fourth of the company’s senior consultants are highly educated, having doctorates or other advanced degrees, and are recognized experts in their respective fields. In 2020, the company had 779 consulting staff, which includes 128 officers, 434 other senior staff and 217 junior staff.

Charles River has a consistent record of returning value to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases. In 2020, 2019 and 2018, the company repurchased shares worth $13.4 million, $18.1 million and $27.9 million, respectively. It paid $7.39 million, $6.54 million and $5.78 million in dividends during 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Such moves indicate the company’s commitment to create value for shareholders and underline its confidence in its business. These initiatives not only instill investors’ confidence, but also positively impact earnings per share.

Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

CRA International currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Zacks Business Services sector are Accenture (ACN - Free Report) , Cross Country Healthcare (CCRN - Free Report) and Paychex (PAYX - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

The long-term expected earnings per share (three to five years) growth rate for Accenture, Cross Country Healthcare and Paychex is pegged at 10%, 10.5% and 8%, respectively.

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