The crisis triggered by fears over the potential collapse of a debt-ridden Evergrande Group has shaken the global stock markets. As a result of this cascading effect of the troubles in China’s property market, major indexes in the United States continue to suffer.
Per a CNBC report, the S&P 500, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 1.7%, 2.2% and 1.8%, respectively, on Sep 20. While the S&P 500’s performance on Sep 20 was the worst (on a daily basis) since May 12, the Dow posted its biggest one-day loss since Jul 19.
The Evergrande crisis apart, U.S. investors are worried about the rapid spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is threatening to derail economic growth witnessed prior to the transmission of this deadly strain.
However, irrespective of the prevalent market conditions, investors strive to design a winning basket of stocks. They are after all putting their hard-earned money into stocks. Amid the existing uncertainties, it is almost impossible for individual investors to come up with a promising portfolio of stocks without proper guidance. Therefore, it is in the best interest of investors to seek advice from “experts in the field."
Who Are the Experts & Why?
The “experts” in the field of investing are brokers who are equipped with thorough knowledge about the space. Brokers, irrespective of their types (sell-side, buy-side or independent), have at their disposal a lot more information on a company and its prospects than individual investors.
To attain their objective, they go through minute details of the publicly available financial documents apart from attending company conference calls and other presentations. Broker opinion should thus act as a valuable guide for investors while deciding their course of action (buy, sell or hold) on a particular stock.
Since brokers meticulously follow the stocks in their coverage, they revise their earnings estimates after carefully examining the pros and cons of an event for the concerned company. Naturally, their estimate revisions serve as an important pointer regarding the price of a stock. To take care of the earnings performance, we designed a screen based on improving broker recommendations and upward estimate revisions over the last four weeks.
Do not Ignore the Top Line
However, designing a strategy based solely on the bottom line is unlikely to result in a rewarding approach. Actually, according to many market watchers, a revenue beat is more creditable for a company than a mere earnings outperformance. To address the top-line concerns, we included in our screen the price/sales ratio, which serves as a strong complementary valuation metric.
Screening Criteria # (Up- Down Rating)/ Total (4 weeks) =Top #75 (This gives the list of top 75 companies that have witnessed net upgrades over the last 4 weeks). % change in Q (1) est. (4 weeks) = Top #10 (This gives the top 10 stocks that have witnessed earnings estimate revisions over the past 4 weeks for the upcoming quarter).
We have also added the following screening parameters to ensure that the strategy is a winning one:
Price-to-Sales = Bot%10 (The lower the ratio the better, companies meeting this criteria are in bottom 10% of our universe of over 7,700 stocks with respect to this ratio). Price greater than 5 (as a stock trading below $5 will not likely create significant interest for most of the investors). Average Daily Volume greater than 100,000 shares over the last 20 trading days (Volume has to be significant to ensure that these are easily traded). Market value ($ mil) = Top #3000 (This gives us stocks that are the top 3000 in terms of market capitalization). Com/ADR/Canadian= Com (This takes out the ADR and Canadian stocks).
Here are five of the 10 stocks that made it through the screen:
Best Buy Company ( BBY Quick Quote BBY - Free Report) is a multinational specialty retailer of consumer electronics, home office products, entertainment software, communication, food preparation, wellness, heath, security, appliances and related services. The company continuously focuses on improving its digital capabilities. Best Buy, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), is constantly conducting various tests and pilots to become a more customer-centric, digitally-focused, efficient company. Its liquidity position is also sound. Backed by these tailwinds, the stock has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings move 16.92% north over the past 60 days. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here Peabody Energy ( BTU Quick Quote BTU - Free Report) : St Louis, MO-based Peabody Energy engages in the coal-mining business and has both thermal and metallurgical operations to manage. Revival in the domestic and international coal markets augurs well for this currently Zacks #2 Ranked stock that outperformed on earnings in three of the last four quarters (lagging the consensus mark in the remaining one). Citi Trends ( CTRN Quick Quote CTRN - Free Report) is a leading value-priced retailer of urban fashion apparel and accessories including nationally recognized brands, private-label products and a limited assortment of home décor items. The company primarily targets fashion conscious African-American customers, offering branded merchandise at about 20-70% discount compared with the regular prices at department and specialty stores. The company is being well-served by the increase in sales. Efforts to reward its shareholders through share buybacks are also commendable. The stock currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. Caleres ( CAL Quick Quote CAL - Free Report) : This Saint Louis-based company, currently sporting a Zacks Rank of 1, engages in the retail and wholesale of footwear. Strong performance of its Famous Footwear and Brand Portfolio segments are driving the top line. The company outperformed on earnings in each of the last four quarters, the average being in excess of 100%. Commercial Metals Company ( CMC Quick Quote CMC - Free Report) manufactures, recycles and markets steel and metal products, related materials and services. This Irving, TX-based company is presently Zacks #1 Ranked. Growth in the construction markets in the United States and Europe and favorable market conditions in Poland bode well for Commercial Metals. Investment in capacity and acquisitions is likely to drive growth. The company outperformed on earnings in each of the last four quarters, the average being 17.51%.
You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.
The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.
Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today. Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.