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Why Quest Diagnostics (DGX) is a Top Momentum Stock for the Long-Term

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Taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals for new and old investors, and Zacks Premium offers many 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 also includes the Zacks Style Scores.

What are the Zacks Style Scores?

The Zacks Style Scores, developed alongside the Zacks Rank, are complementary indicators that rate stocks based on three widely-followed investing methodologies; they also help investors pick stocks with the best chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.

Based on their value, growth, and momentum characteristics, each stock is assigned a rating of A, B, C, D, or F. The better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform; an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on.

The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:

Value Score

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.

Growth Score

Growth investors are more concerned with a stock's future prospects, and the overall financial health and strength of a company. Thus, the Growth Style Score analyzes characteristics like projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow to find stocks that will see sustainable growth over time.

Momentum Score

Momentum trading is all about taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook, and these investors live by the saying "the trend is your friend." The Momentum Style Score can pinpoint good times to build a position in a stock, using factors like one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates.

VGM Score

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

A proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank utilizes the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings outlook, to help investors create 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.

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.

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: Quest Diagnostics (DGX - Free Report)

Quest Diagnostics, Inc., headquartered in Madison, NJ, is one of the largest providers of commercial laboratory services in North America. The company was spun off from Corning, Inc.’s laboratory testing business in 1996 and has grown primarily through acquisitions and strategic alliances. Quest provides lab testing services primarily to physicians, hospitals, managed care organizations, employers, government institutions, and other independent clinical laboratories.

DGX is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.

Momentum investors should take note of this Medical stock. DGX has a Momentum Style Score of A, and shares are up 3.2% over the past four weeks.

For fiscal 2021, four analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.48 to $11.68 per share. DGX boasts an average earnings surprise of 7.5%.

With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Momentum and VGM Style Scores, DGX should be on investors' short list.


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