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Huron Consulting Group Inc. (HURN) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

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Have you been paying attention to shares of Huron Consulting (HURN - Free Report) ? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 9.9% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $83.48 in the previous session. Huron Consulting has gained 14.4% since the start of the year compared to the 4.1% move for the Zacks Business Services sector and the 7.1% return for the Zacks Consulting Services industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on February 28, 2023, Huron Consulting reported EPS of $1.12 versus consensus estimate of $0.98 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 11.83%.

For the current fiscal year, Huron Consulting is expected to post earnings of $4.03 per share on $1.25 billion in revenues. This represents a 17.49% change in EPS on a 10.29% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $4.79 per share on $1.37 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 19.02% and 9.56%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Huron Consulting may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company is due for a pullback from this level.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Huron Consulting has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and C, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 20.6X current fiscal year EPS estimates, which is not in-line with the peer industry average of 21.1X. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 16.6X versus its peer group's average of 16.6X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Huron Consulting currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Huron Consulting meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Huron Consulting shares could have potential in the weeks and months to come.

How Does HURN Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of HURN have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? One industry peer that looks good is Accenture PLC (ACN - Free Report) . ACN has a Zacks Rank of # 2 (Buy) and a Value Score of C, a Growth Score of B, and a Momentum Score of C.

Earnings were strong last quarter. Accenture PLC beat our consensus estimate by 8.03%, and for the current fiscal year, ACN is expected to post earnings of $11.57 per share on revenue of $64.33 billion.

Shares of Accenture PLC have gained 12.8% over the past month, and currently trade at a forward P/E of 24.65X and a P/CF of 20.06X.

The Consulting Services industry is in the top 15% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for HURN and ACN, even beyond their own solid fundamental situation.

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