Growth investors focus on stocks that are seeing above-average financial growth, as this feature helps these securities garner the market's attention and deliver solid returns. But finding a great growth stock is not easy at all.
By their very nature, these stocks carry above-average risk and volatility. Moreover, if a company's growth story is over or nearing its end, betting on it could lead to significant loss.
However, it's pretty easy to find cutting-edge growth stocks with the help of the Zacks Growth Style Score (part of the Zacks Style Scores system), which looks beyond the traditional growth attributes to analyze a company's real growth prospects.
JMP is on the list of such stocks currently recommended by our proprietary system. In addition to a favorable Growth Score, it carries a top Zacks Rank.
Research shows that stocks carrying the best growth features consistently beat the market. And returns are even better for stocks that possess the combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).
Here are three of the most important factors that make the stock of this nvestment banking and asset services company a great growth pick right now.
Arguably nothing is more important than earnings growth, as surging profit levels is what most investors are after. For growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is highly preferable, as it is often perceived as an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.
While the historical EPS growth rate for JMP is 22.7%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 31.7% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 30%.
Impressive Asset Utilization Ratio
Asset utilization ratio -- also known as sales-to-total-assets (S/TA) ratio -- is often overlooked by investors, but it is an important indicator in growth investing. This metric exhibits how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.
Right now, JMP has an S/TA ratio of 0.75, which means that the company gets $0.75 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 0.17, it can be said that the company is more efficient.
While the level of efficiency in generating sales matters a lot, so does the sales growth of a company. And JMP looks attractive from a sales growth perspective as well. The company's sales are expected to grow 34.8% this year versus the industry average of 19.1%.
Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions
Beyond the metrics outlined above, investors should consider the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is a plus here. Empirical research shows that there is a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.
There have been upward revisions in current-year earnings estimates for JMP. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 45.6% over the past month.
While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made JMP a Zacks Rank #2 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of A based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above.
You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
This combination indicates that JMP is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.