It doesn't matter your age or experience: taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals for all investors. Luckily, Zacks Premium offers several different ways to do both.
The research service features 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, all of which will help you become a smarter, more confident investor.
It also includes access to the Zacks Style Scores.
What are the Zacks Style Scores?
Developed alongside the Zacks Rank, the Zacks Style Scores are a group of complementary indicators that help investors pick stocks with the best chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.
Each stock is assigned a rating of A, B, C, D, or F based on their value, growth, and momentum characteristics. Just like in school, an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on -- that means the better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform.
The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:
Finding good stocks at good prices, and discovering which companies are trading under their true value, are what value investors like to focus on. So, the Value Style Score takes into account ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and a host of other multiples to highlight the most attractive and discounted stocks.
Growth investors, on the other hand, are more concerned with a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score examines things like projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow to find stocks that will experience sustainable growth over time.
Momentum investors, who live by the saying "the trend is your friend," are most interested in taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Utilizing one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, among other factors, the Momentum Style Score can help determine favorable times to buy high-momentum stocks.
If you like to use all three kinds of investing, then the VGM Score is for you. It's a combination of all Style Scores, and is an important indicator to use with the Zacks Rank. The VGM Score rates each stock on their shared weighted styles, narrowing down the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum.
How Style Scores Work with the Zacks Rank
The Zacks Rank is a proprietary stock-rating model that harnesses the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings expectations, to help investors build a successful portfolio.
It's highly successful, with #1 (Strong Buy) stocks producing an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988. That's more than double the S&P 500. But because of the large number of stocks we rate, there are over 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, plus another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.
With more than 800 top-rated stocks to choose from, it can certainly feel overwhelming to pick the ones that are right for you and your investing journey.
That's where the Style Scores come in.
To maximize your returns, you want to buy stocks with the highest probability of success. This means picking stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you find yourself looking at stocks with a #3 (Hold) rank, make sure they have Scores of A or B as well to ensure as much upside potential as possible.
The direction of a stock's earnings estimate revisions should always be a key factor when choosing which stocks to buy, since the Scores were created to work together with the Zacks Rank.
For instance, a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one that boasts Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings forecast, and a much greater likelihood its share price will decline as well.
Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.
Stock to Watch: Manulife Financial ( MFC Quick Quote MFC - Free Report)
Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Manulife Financial Corporation was founded in 1887. Manulife is one of the three dominant life insurers within its domestic Canadian market and possesses rapidly growing operations in the U.S. and several Asian countries. Manulife reports earnings through six divisions and has five major operating divisions – Asia, Canada, U.S. Insurance and U.S. Wealth Management, and Corporate.
MFC is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of B.
It also boasts a Value Style Score of A thanks to attractive valuation metrics like a forward P/E ratio of 7.37; value investors should take notice.
Five analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.10 to $2.62 per share. MFC also boasts an average earnings surprise of 7.9%.
With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Value and VGM Style Scores, MFC should be on investors' short list.