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.
The Zacks Premium service, which provides 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, makes these more manageable goals. All of the features can help you identify what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today's hottest industries.
The service also includes the Focus List, which is a long-term portfolio of top stocks that boast a winning, market-beating combination of growth and momentum qualities.
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?
Enter the Zacks Focus List. It's a portfolio made up of 50 stocks that are set to beat the market over the next 12 months; each company selected serves as a foundation for long-term investors looking to create an individual portfolio.
What makes the Focus List even more helpful is that each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, which explains the reasoning behind every stock's selection and why we believe it's a good pick 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.
Brokerage analysts are in charge of determining a company's growth and profitability expectations, or earnings estimates. These analysts work together with company management to evaluate all factors 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.
Stocks that receive upward earnings estimate revisions are more likely to receive even more upward changes in the future. For example, if an analyst raised their estimates last month, they're more likely to do it again this month, and other analysts are likely to do the same.
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.
There are four main factors behind the Zacks Rank: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each one of these features is then given a raw score that's recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank. Using this data, stocks are 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.
Since stock prices respond to revisions, it can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates. By buying Focus List stocks, then, you're likely getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.
Focus List Spotlight: UnitedHealth Group ( UNH Quick Quote 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.
On June 22, 2015, UNH was added to the Focus List at $120.33 per share. Shares have increased 303.66% to $485.73 since then, and the company is a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank.
Eight analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2022, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.06 to $21.76. UNH also boasts an average earnings surprise of 3.7%.
Additionally, UNH's earnings are expected to grow 14.4% for the current fiscal year.
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