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Grab These 4 Top-Performing Liquid Stocks to Boost Returns

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Identifying stocks that offer healthy returns may sometimes pose a challenge to investors. In that case, one may consider liquidity levels, which are a good indicator of a company’s financial health.

Liquidity measures a company’s capability to meet its short-term debt obligations.

However, high liquidity may also suggest a company’s inefficiency in utilizing its assets properly. Thus, impressive liquidity positions and favorable efficiency levels can be used to identify potential winners and boost portfolio returns.

Measures to Identify Liquid Stocks

Current Ratio: It measures current assets relative to current liabilities. The ratio is used for gauging a company’s potential to meet short- and long-term debt obligations. A current ratio — also known as the working capital ratio — below 1 indicates that the company has more liabilities than assets. However, a high current ratio does not always suggest that the company is in good financial shape. It may also suggest that the company failed to utilize its assets significantly. Hence, a range of 1-3 is considered ideal.

Quick Ratio: Unlike the current ratio, the quick ratio — also called the “acid-test ratio" or the "quick assets ratio" — reflects a company’s ability to pay short-term obligations. It considers inventory excluding the current assets relative to current liabilities. Like the current ratio, a quick ratio of more than 1 is desirable.

Cash Ratio: This is the most conservative ratio among the three, as it considers cash and cash equivalents and invested funds relative to current liabilities. It measures a company’s ability to meet current debt obligations using the most liquid assets. Though a cash ratio of more than 1 may suggest sound financials, a higher number may indicate inefficiency in cash utilization.

A ratio greater than 1 is desirable at all times but may not always represent a company’s financial condition.

Screening Parameters

To pick the best of the lot, we have added asset utilization — a widely-used measure of a company’s efficiency — as one of the screening criteria. Asset utilization is the ratio of total sales in the past 12 months to the last four-quarter average of total assets. Though this ratio varies across industries, companies with a ratio higher than their respective industries can be considered efficient.

To ensure that these liquid and efficient stocks have solid growth potential, we have added our proprietary Growth Style Score to the screen.

Current Ratio, Quick Ratio and Cash Ratio between 1 and 3 (While liquidity ratios greater than 1 are desirable, significantly high ratios may indicate inefficiency.)

Asset utilization greater than the industry average (Higher asset utilization than the industry average indicates a company’s efficiency.)

Zacks Rank equal to #1 (Only Strong Buy-rated stocks can get through). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Growth Score less than or equal to B (Back-tested results show that stocks with a Growth Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 handily beat other stocks.)

These criteria have narrowed down the universe of more than 7,700 stocks to only 11.

Here are four of the 11 stocks that qualified for the screen:

Based in Nashville, TN, Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LPX - Free Report) is a leading manufacturer of sustainable, quality engineered wood building materials, structural framing products and exterior siding for residential, industrial and light commercial construction. The company operates 20 modern, strategically located facilities in the United States and Canada, two facilities in Chile and a facility in Brazil. It also operates facilities through a joint venture. Its products are primarily used in new home construction, repair and remodeling and outdoor structures. The company is reaping benefits from solid demand from the U.S. residential market. Strategic business transformation, effective cash management and inorganic moves are likely to boost performance in the future. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings is pegged at $14.87 per share, up 25.3% in the past 60 days. Louisiana-Pacific has a Growth Score of B and a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 14%, on average.

Dallas, TX-based Southwest Airlines Co (LUV - Free Report) is a passenger airline service in the United States. Continued recovery in air-travel demand bodes well for Southwest Airlines. Anticipating improvement in bookings, the carrier is well positioned to reap profits in the remaining three quarters of 2022. Fleet- modernization efforts of LUV are encouraging as well. At the end of first quarter of 2022, Southwest Airlines had 722 Boeing 737 jets in its fleet. The carrier uses its fleet to serve 121 destinations across 11 countries (the United States and 10 near-international countries, including Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Aruba, Costa Rica, Belize, Cuba, the Cayman Islands and Caicos). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 earnings is pegged at $2.26 per share, up 107.3% in the past 60 days. LUV has a Growth Score of B and a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 33.5%, on average

Israel-based Perion Network (PERI - Free Report) is a technology company that offers online advertising and search monetization solutions to brands and publishers. The company is committed to providing data-driven execution, from high-impact ad formats to branded search and a unified social and mobile programmatic platform. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2022 earnings is pegged at $1.77 per share, up 51.3% in the past 60 days. The company has a Growth Score of A and a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 34.7%, on average.

Another Israel-based company, Nova (NVMI - Free Report) ,  can be a good addition to the portfolio as the company has strong growth prospects. Nova provides material, optical and chemical metrology solutions for advanced process control used in semiconductor manufacturing. The company's product portfolio combines latest hardware and software innovation to aid the advancement of semiconductor manufacturing. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2022 earnings is pegged at $4.69 per share, up 11.9% in the past 60 days. NVMI has a Growth Score of B and a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 19.8%, on average.

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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.