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Icon PLC (ICLR) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

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Have you been paying attention to shares of ICON (ICLR - Free Report) ? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 11.5% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $241.52 in the previous session. ICON has gained 23.4% since the start of the year compared to the -0.9% move for the Zacks Medical sector and the -31.8% return for the Zacks Medical Services industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on July 21, 2021, Icon PLC reported EPS of $2.12 versus consensus estimate of $2.1 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 2.92%.

For the current fiscal year, Icon PLC is expected to post earnings of $9.25 per share on $5.45 billion in revenues. This represents a 41.65% change in EPS on a 94.65% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $11.07 per share on $7.86 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 19.61% and 44.35%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Icon PLC may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Icon PLC has a Value Score of C. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and C, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 26X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 29.1X versus its peer group's average of 24.8X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.26. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Icon PLC currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Icon PLC meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Icon PLC shares could have a bit more room to run in the near term.

How Does Icon PLC Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of Icon PLC have been rising, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also looking good, including Tivity Health (TVTY - Free Report) , Avantor (AVTR - Free Report) , and GETINGE AB (GNGBY - Free Report) , all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.

The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 45% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Icon PLC, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation.

In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above

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ICON PLC (ICLR) - free report >>

Tivity Health, Inc. (TVTY) - free report >>

GETINGE (GNGBY) - free report >>

Avantor, Inc. (AVTR) - free report >>

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