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.
Featuring 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, the research service can help you become a smarter, more self-assured investor.
Zacks Premium includes access to the Zacks Style Scores as well.
What are the Zacks Style Scores?
The Zacks Style Scores is a unique set of guidelines that rates stocks based on three popular investing types, and were developed as complementary indicators for the Zacks Rank. This combination helps investors choose securities with the highest 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:
Value investors love finding good stocks at good prices, especially before the broader market catches on to a stock's true value. Utilizing ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and many other multiples, the Value Style Score identifies the most attractive and most discounted stocks.
While good value is important, growth investors are more focused on a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score takes projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow into account to uncover stocks that will see long-term, sustainable growth.
Momentum traders and investors live by the saying "the trend is your friend." This investing style is all about taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Employing factors like one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, the Momentum Style Score can indicate favorable times to build a position in high-momentum stocks.
If you want a combination of all three Style Scores, then the VGM Score will be your friend. It rates each stock on their combined weighted styles, helping you find the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum. It's also one of the best indicators to use with the Zacks Rank.
How Style Scores Work with the Zacks Rank
The Zacks Rank, which is a proprietary stock-rating model, employs earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings expectations, to make building a winning portfolio easier.
#1 (Strong Buy) stocks have produced an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988, which is more than double the S&P 500's performance over the same time frame. However, the Zacks Rank examines a ton of stocks, and there can be more than 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, and another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.
This totals more than 800 top-rated stocks, and it can be overwhelming to try and pick the best stocks for you and your portfolio.
That's where the Style Scores come in.
You want to make sure you're buying stocks with the highest likelihood of success, and to do that, you'll need to pick stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you like a stock that only as a #3 (Hold) rank, it should also have Scores of A or B to guarantee as much upside potential as possible.
As mentioned above, the Scores are designed to work with the Zacks Rank, so any change to a company's earnings outlook should be a deciding factor when picking which stocks to buy.
Here's an example: a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one with Style Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings outlook, and a bigger chance its share price will decrease too.
Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.
Stock to Watch: Exxon Mobil ( XOM Quick Quote XOM - Free Report)
ExxonMobil's bellwether status in the energy space, optimal integrated capital structure that has historically produced industry-leading returns and management's track record of capex discipline across the commodity price cycle make it a relatively lower-risk energy sector play.
XOM is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.
Momentum investors should take note of this Oils-Energy stock. XOM has a Momentum Style Score of A, and shares are up 5.9% over the past four weeks.
Seven analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.45 to $4.55 per share. XOM boasts an average earnings surprise of 63.4%.
With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Momentum and VGM Style Scores, XOM should be on investors' short list.