Here at Zacks, we offer our members many different opportunities to take full advantage of the stock market, as well as how to invest in ways that lead to long-term success.
One of our most popular services, Zacks Premium offers 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 like the Earnings ESP filter. All are useful tools to find what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today's hottest industries.
It also includes the Focus List, a long-term portfolio of top stocks that have all the elements to beat the market.
Breaking Down the Zacks Focus List
If you could, wouldn't you jump at the chance for access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investing journey?
That's what the Zacks Focus List offers. It's a portfolio of 50 stocks that serve as a starting point for long-term investors to build their individual portfolios. The stocks included in the list are set to outperform the market over the next 12 months.
Additionally, each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, something that makes the Focus List even more valuable. The report explains in detail why each stock was picked and why we believe it's good for the long-term.
The portfolio's past performance only solidifies why investors should consider it as a starting point. For 2020, the Focus List gained 13.85% on an annualized basis compared to the S&P 500's return of 9.38%. Cumulatively, the portfolio has returned 2,519.23% while the S&P returned 854.95%. Returns are for the period of February 1, 1996 to March 31, 2021.
Focus List Methodology
When stocks are picked for the Focus List, it reflects our enduring reliance on the power of earnings estimate revisions.
Earnings estimates are expectations of growth and profitability, and are determined by brokerage analysts. Together with company management, these analysts examine every aspect that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.
What a company will earn down the road also needs to be taken into consideration, and this is why earnings estimate revisions are so important.
When a stock receives upward earnings estimate revisions, it will likely get even more positive changes in the future. For instance, if an analyst raised their earnings outlook last month, they'll probably do so again this month, and other analysts will follow.
Utilizing the power of earnings estimate revisions is when the Zacks Rank joins the party. A unique, proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank uses changes to quarterly earnings expectations to help investors create a winning portfolio.
Four primary factors make up the Zacks Rank: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each is given a raw score that's recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank, and with this data, stocks are then classified into five groups, ranging from "Strong Buy" to "Strong Sell."
The Focus List is comprised of stocks hand-picked from a long list of #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) ranked companies, meaning that each new addition boasts a bullish earnings consensus among analysts.
Because stock prices react to revisions, buying stocks with rising earnings estimates can be very profitable. Focus List stocks offer investors a great opportunity to get into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.
Focus List Spotlight: Caterpillar ( CAT Quick Quote CAT - Free Report)
Caterpillar, known for its iconic yellow machines, is the largest global manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. Given that it serves a gamut of sectors - infrastructure, construction, mining, oil & gas and transportation, the company is considered a bellwether of the global economy.
On April 18, 2017, CAT was added to the Focus List at $94.14 per share. Shares have increased 128.2% to $214.83 since then, and the company is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank.
Five analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2022, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.01 to $12.20. CAT also boasts an average earnings surprise of 24.1%.
Earnings for CAT are forecasted to see growth of 12.9% for the current fiscal year as well.
Reveal Winning Stocks
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