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.
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:
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 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 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.
What if you like to use all three types of investing? The VGM Score is a combination of all Style Scores, making it one of the most comprehensive indicators to use with the Zacks Rank. It rates each stock on their combined weighted styles, which helps narrow 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.
To have the best chance of big returns, you'll want to always consider stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B, which will give you the highest probability of success. If you're looking at stocks with a #3 (Hold) rank, it's important 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.
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: Alliance Data Systems
Headquartered in Plano, TX and founded in 1996, Alliance Data Systems Corporation is a private label credit card processing firm for mid-market specialty retail stores in the U.S. It provides transaction, marketing and credit services in the United States, Canada and internationally. Using transaction-rich data, Alliance Data creates and manages customized solutions that change consumer behavior and enable its clients to create and enhance customer loyalty to build stronger, mutually beneficial relationships with their customers. The company is a leading player among its competitors. Alliance Data is one of the largest third party payment processors in the United States and the second largest third party private label card issuer as measured by accounts. In Canada, it owns and operates the premier coalition loyalty-marketing program (AIR MILES).
ADS 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 5.7; value investors should take notice.
Two analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.06 to $18.03 per share. ADS also boasts an average earnings surprise of 58.9%.
With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Value and VGM Style Scores, ADS should be on investors' short list.