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UnitedHealth Group (UNH) is a Top-Ranked Growth Stock: Should You Buy?

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For new and old investors, taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals. Zacks Premium provides lots of 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?

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.

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

Finding good stocks at good prices, and discovering which companies are trading under their true value, are what value investors like to focus on. So, the Value Style Score takes into account ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and a host of other multiples to highlight the most attractive and discounted stocks.

Growth Score

Growth investors, on the other hand, are more concerned with a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score examines things like projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow to find stocks that will experience sustainable growth over time.

Momentum Score

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.

VGM Score

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.

To maximize your returns, you want to buy stocks with the highest probability of success. This means picking stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you find yourself looking at stocks with a #3 (Hold) rank, make sure 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.

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: UnitedHealth Group (UNH - Free Report)

UnitedHealth Group, Inc. provides a wide range of health care products and services, such as health maintenance organizations (HMOs), point of service plans (POS), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and managed fee-for-service programs.

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

Additionally, the company could be a top pick for growth investors. UNH has a Growth Style Score of B, forecasting year-over-year earnings growth of 11.6% for the current fiscal year.

For fiscal 2021, seven analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.07 to $18.83 per share. UNH boasts an average earnings surprise of 8.7%.

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


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