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.
The research service features 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, all of which will help you become a smarter, more confident investor.
It also includes access to the Zacks Style Scores.
What are the Zacks Style Scores?
The Zacks Style Scores, developed alongside the Zacks Rank, are complementary indicators that rate stocks based on three widely-followed investing methodologies; they also 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:
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.
While good value is important, growth investors are more focused on a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score takes projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow into account to uncover stocks that will see long-term, sustainable growth.
Momentum investors, who live by the saying "the trend is your friend," are most interested in taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Utilizing one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, among other factors, the Momentum Style Score can help determine favorable times to buy high-momentum stocks.
If you like to use all three kinds of investing, then the VGM Score is for you. It's a combination of all Style Scores, and is an important indicator to use with the Zacks Rank. The VGM Score rates each stock on their shared weighted styles, narrowing down the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum.
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.
A stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, for instance, even one with Scores of A and B, will still have a declining earnings forecast, and a greater chance its share price will fall too.
Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.
Stock to Watch: Marathon Oil ( MRO Quick Quote MRO - Free Report)
Incorporated in 2001, Houston, Texas-based Marathon Oil Corporation is a leading oil and natural gas exploration and production (‘E&P’) company with operations in the United States and Africa. As of the end of 2021, Marathon Oil had approximately 1,106 million oil-equivalent barrels in net proved reserves (52% crude oil/condensate and 68% proved developed), and 89% were located in the United States. In 2021, the company’s overall production from continuing operations was 347,000 net barrels of oil equivalent per day. Approximately 82% of Marathon Oil’s 2021 volumes came from the U.S.
MRO is a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.
It also boasts a Value Style Score of B thanks to attractive valuation metrics like a forward P/E ratio of 5.65; value investors should take notice.
Eight analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2022. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $1.63 to $4.75 per share. MRO boasts an average earnings surprise of 23%.
With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Value and VGM Style Scores, MRO should be on investors' short list.