Back to top

Image: Bigstock

3 of the Most Efficient Stocks to Boost Your Portfolio Returns

Read MoreHide Full Article

Companies with promising efficiency levels are likely to be on investors’ radar, irrespective of market conditions. This is because a company with a favorable efficiency level is expected to offer impressive returns as it is believed to be positively correlated with the company’s price performance. Notably, efficiency, which is the ability to transform inputs into outputs, is a potential indicator of a company’s financial health.

However, at times it becomes difficult to measure the efficiency level of a company. This is why one must consider popular efficiency ratios while selecting stocks. These efficiency ratios are:

Inventory Turnover: The ratio of 12-month cost of goods sold (COGS) to a four-quarter average inventory is considered one of the most-popular efficiency ratios. It indicates a company’s ability to maintain a suitable inventory position. While a high value indicates that the company has a relatively low level of inventory compared to COGS, a low value indicates that the company is facing declining sales, which resulted in excess inventory.

Receivables Turnover:  This is the ratio of 12-month sales to four-quarter average receivables. It shows a company’s potential to extend its credit and collect debt in terms of that credit. A high receivables turnover ratio or the “accounts receivable turnover ratio” or “debtor’s turnover ratio” is desirable as it shows that the company is capable of collecting its accounts receivables or that it has quality customers.

Asset Utilization: This ratio indicates a company’s capability to convert assets into output and is thus a widely known measure of efficiency level. It is calculated by dividing total sales over the past 12 months by the last four-quarter average of total assets. Like the above ratios, high asset utilization may indicate that a company is efficient.

Operating Margin: This efficiency measure is the ratio of operating income over the past 12 months to sales over the same period. It measures a company’s ability to control operating expenses. Hence, a high value of the ratio may indicate that the company manages its operating expenses more efficiently than its peers.

Screening Criteria

In addition to the above-mentioned ratios, we have added a favorable Zacks Rank — Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)— to the screen with an objective to make this strategy more profitable. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Inventory Turnover, Receivables Turnover, Asset Utilization and Operating Margin greater than industry average

(Values of these ratios higher than industry averages may indicate that the efficiency level of the company is higher than its peers.)   

The use of these few criteria narrowed down the universe of over 7,906 stocks to 11.

Here are the top three stocks that made it through the screen:

Oxford Industries (OXM - Free Report) is an apparel company which designs, sources, markets and distributes products bearing the trademarks of its owned and licensed brands. OXM has an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 99.7%.

The Chef's Warehouse (CHEF - Free Report) is a distributor of specialty food products in the United States. CHEF has an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 372.3%.

Sanderson Farms is a poultry processing company that produces, processes, markets and distributes fresh and frozen chicken products. SAFM has an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 60.5%.

You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.

The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.

Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today.

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


In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above


Normally $25 each - click below to receive one report FREE:


Oxford Industries, Inc. (OXM) - free report >>

The Chefs' Warehouse, Inc. (CHEF) - free report >>