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Here's Why West Pharmaceutical Services (WST) is a Great Momentum Stock to Buy

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Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.

Even though momentum is a popular stock characteristic, it can be tough to define. Debate surrounding which are the best and worst metrics to focus on is lengthy, but the Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.

Below, we take a look at West Pharmaceutical Services (WST - Free Report) , a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of B. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.

It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. West Pharmaceutical Services currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.

You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>

Set to Beat the Market?

In order to see if WST is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this medical device company holds up.

Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.

For WST, shares are up 8.05% over the past week while the Zacks Medical - Dental Supplies industry is up 1.5% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 14.89% compares favorably with the industry's 0.32% performance as well.

While any stock can see its price increase, it takes a real winner to consistently beat the market. That is why looking at longer term price metrics -- such as performance over the past three months or year -- can be useful as well. Shares of West Pharmaceutical Services have increased 31.82% over the past quarter, and have gained 55.89% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 5.97% and 34.79%, respectively.

Investors should also pay attention to WST's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. WST is currently averaging 370,932 shares for the last 20 days.

Earnings Outlook

The Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with WST.

Over the past two months, 4 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost WST's consensus estimate, increasing from $7.16 to $8.00 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 4 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.

Bottom Line

Taking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that WST is a #2 (Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of B. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep West Pharmaceutical Services on your short list.


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