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 growth stock that can live up to its true potential can be a tough task.
That's because, these stocks usually carry above-average risk and volatility. In fact, betting on a stock for which the growth story is actually over or nearing its end could lead to significant loss.
However, the task of finding cutting-edge growth stocks is made easy 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.
Marsh & McLennan (
MMC Quick Quote MMC - Free Report) 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 for stocks that have a combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy), returns are even better.
While there are numerous reasons why the stock of this global professional services firm providing strategy, risk and people solutions is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:
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 Marsh & McLennan is 10.6%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 22.4% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 18.8%.
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, Marsh & McLennan has an S/TA ratio of 0.56, which means that the company gets $0.56 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 0.36, it can be said that the company is more efficient.
In addition to efficiency in generating sales, sales growth plays an important role. And Marsh & McLennan looks attractive from a sales growth perspective as well. The company's sales are expected to grow 11.8% this year versus the industry average of 8.1%.
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 Marsh & McLennan. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 0.2% over the past month.
While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Marsh & McLennan a Zacks Rank #2 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of B 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 Marsh & McLennan is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.