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 get access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investment portfolio, wouldn't you jump at the chance to take a peek?
That's what the Zacks Focus List, a portfolio of 50 stocks, offers investors. Not only does it serve as a starting point for long-term investors, but all stocks included in the list are poised to outperform the market over the next 12 months.
One thing that makes the Focus List even more advantageous is that each pick comes with a full Zacks Analyst Report. This helps explain why each stock was selected 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.
Earnings estimate revisions are very important, since investors also need to take into consideration what a company will earn in the future.
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.
Harnessing the power of earnings estimate revisions is where the Zacks Rank comes in. The Zacks Rank is a unique, proprietary stock-rating model that utilizes changes to a company's quarterly earnings expectations to help investors build 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.
It can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates, as stock prices respond to revisions. By adding Focus List stocks, there's a great chance you'll be getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, which can lead to price momentum.
Focus List Spotlight: ICF International ( ICFI Quick Quote ICFI - Free Report)
Headquartered in Fairfax, VA, ICF International, Inc. is a provider of professional services and technology-based solutions to government and commercial clients. The company’s primary services include advisory, analytics, digital, engagement and program implementation services. These services are offered in four markets namely, energy, environment and infrastructure; health, education, and social programs; safety and security, and consumer and financial.
ICFI, a #3 (Hold) stock, was added to the Focus List on April 23, 2018 at $66.60 per share. Since then, shares have increased 57.85% to $105.13.
For fiscal 2022, two analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.16 to $5.79. ICFI boasts an average earnings surprise of 8.3%.
Earnings for ICFI are forecasted to see growth of 20.1% for the current fiscal year as well.
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