Back to top

Image: Bigstock

How to Find Strong Buy Computer and Technology Stocks Using the Zacks Rank

Read MoreHide Full Article

It doesn't matter if you're a growth, value, income, or momentum-focused investor -- building a successful investment portfolio takes skill, research, and a little bit of luck.

But what's the best way to find the right combination of stocks? Because funding things like your retirement, your kids' college tuition, or your short- and long-term savings goals will definitely require significant returns.

Enter the Zacks Rank.

What is the Zacks Rank?

The Zacks Rank is a unique, proprietary stock-rating model that utilizes earnings estimate revisions to help investors build a winning portfolio.

There are four main factors behind the Zacks Rank: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise.

Agreement is the extent to which all brokerage analysts are revising their earnings estimates in the same direction. The greater the percentage of analysts revising their estimates higher, the better chance the stock will outperform.

Magnitude is the size of the recent change in the consensus estimate for the current and next fiscal years.

Upside is the difference between the most accurate estimate, which is calculated by Zacks, and the consensus estimate.

Surprise is made up of a company's last few quarters' earnings per share surprises; companies with a positive earnings surprise are more likely to beat expectations in the future.

Each factor is given a raw score, which is recalculated every night and compiled into the Zacks Rank. Utilizing this data, stocks are put into five different groups: Strong Buy, Buy, Hold, Sell, and Strong Sell.

The Power of Institutional Investors

The Zacks Rank also allows individual investors, or retail investors, to benefit from the power of institutional investors.

These professionals manage the trillions of dollars invested in hedge funds, mutual funds, and investment banks, and studies have shown that they can and do move the market because of the large amounts of money they invest with. Thus, the market tends to move in the same direction as institutional investors.

In order to figure out the fair value of a company and its shares, these investors will build valuation models focused on earnings and earnings expectations. Because if you raise estimates for the bottom line, it creates a higher fair value for a company.

With these changes, institutional investors will act, usually buying stocks with rising estimates and selling those with falling estimates. An increase in earnings expectations can potentially lead to higher stock prices and bigger gains for the investor.

Since it can often take weeks, if not months, for an institutional investor to build a position (given their size), retail investors who get in at the first sign of upward earnings estimate revisions have a distinct advantage over these larger investors, and can benefit from the expected institutional buying that will follow.

Not only can the Zacks Rank help you take advantage of trends in earnings estimate revisions, but it can also provide a way to get into stocks that are highly sought after by professionals.

How to Invest with the Zacks Rank

The Zacks Rank is known for transforming investment portfolios. In fact, a portfolio of Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks has beaten the market in 26 of the last 32 years, with an average annual return of +25.41%.

Moreover, stocks with a new #1 (Strong Buy) ranking have some of the biggest profit potential, while those that fell to a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) have some of the worst.

Let's take a look at Qualcomm (QCOM - Free Report) , which was added to the Zacks Rank #1 list on August 7, 2021.

Headquartered in San Diego, CA, Qualcomm Incorporated designs, manufactures and markets digital wireless telecom products and services based on the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology. The products include CDMA-based integrated circuits (ICs) and system software for wireless voice and data communications as well as global positioning system (GPS) products. The company also offers development and other product related services to the U.S. government agencies and their contractors. Qualcomm's business is organized into two reporting segments as follows:

For fiscal 2021, 10 analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.45 to $8.24 per share. QCOM boasts an average earnings surprise of 13.5%.

Earnings are forecasted to see growth of 96.7% for the current fiscal year, and sales are expected to increase 40.4%.

QCOM has been moving higher over the past four weeks as well, up 3.4% compared to the S&P 500's gain of 2.3%.

Bottom Line

With a #1 (Strong Buy) ranking, positive trend in earnings estimate revisions, and strong market momentum, Qualcomm should be on investors' shortlist.

If you want even more information on the Zacks Ranks, or one of our many other investing strategies, check out the Zacks Education home page.

Discover Today's Top Stocks

Our private Zacks #1 Rank List, based on our quantitative Zacks Rank stock-rating system, has more than doubled the S&P 500 since 1988. Applying the Zacks Rank in your own trading can boost your investing returns on your very next trade. See Today's Zacks #1 Rank List >>


In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above


Normally $25 each - click below to receive one report FREE:


QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM) - free report >>

Published in