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 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, a portfolio of 50 stocks, offers investors. Not only does it serve as a starting point for long-term investors, but all stocks included in the list are poised 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.
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.
Harnessing the power of earnings estimate revisions is where the Zacks Rank comes in. The Zacks Rank, which is a unique, proprietary stock-rating model, employs earnings estimate revisions to make it easier to build a winning portfolio.
The Zacks Rank consists of four main pillars: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each one is given a raw score, which is recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank. Then, stocks are classified into five groups, ranging from "Strong Buy" to "Strong Sell," using this data.
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: UnitedHealth Group ( UNH Quick Quote UNH - Free Report)
UnitedHealth Group, Inc. provides a wide range of health care products and services, such as health maintenance organizations (HMOs), point of service plans (POS), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and managed fee-for-service programs.
Since being added to the Focus List on June 22, 2015 at $120.33 per share, shares of UNH have increased 245.75% to $416.04. The stock is currently a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank.
One analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0 to $18.60. UNH also boasts an average earnings surprise of 20.2%.
Additionally, UNH's earnings are expected to grow 10.2% for the current fiscal year.
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