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Take the Zacks Approach to Beat the Market: Microsoft, Novo Nordisk, General Mills in Focus

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The three most widely followed indexes closed the week in the green amid choppy trading. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 gained 0.9% each.

The week’s trade was boosted by strong earnings numbers, especially from the technology sector. Even as economic data from various sectors kept investors wondering whether a broad economic slowdown was on the horizon, inflation numbers released later in the week cheered markets. GDP for the first quarter advanced, despite coming in below expectations.

The S&P 500 and the Dow ended the month higher, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq remained essentially unchanged from its March close. However, investors remain cautious and eagerly await the outcome of the Fed meeting. Market participants have already priced in a 25 bps hike from the Fed’s May meeting and are currently expecting the rate hike cycle to be nearing its end.

Regardless of market conditions, we, here at Zacks, provide investors with unbiased guidance on how to beat the market.  

As usual, Zacks Research guided investors over the past three months with its time-tested methodologies. Given the prevailing market uncertainty, you may want to look at our feats to prepare better for your next action.

Here are some of our key achievements:

Rollins and Hyperfine Surge Following Zacks Rank Upgrade

Shares of Rollins, Inc. (ROL - Free Report) have soared 16.8% since it was upgraded to a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) on February 17.

Another stock, Hyperfine, Inc. (HYPR - Free Report) , which was also upgraded to a Zacks Rank #2 on February 13,  has returned 15.6% since then.

Zacks Rank, our short-term rating system, has earnings estimate revisions at its core. Empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.  

This stock-rating system, which uses four factors related to earnings estimates to classify stocks into five groups, ranging from Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) to Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), has an impressive externally audited track record, with Zacks Rank #1 stocks generating an average annual return of +24.8% since 1988.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 stocks here >>>

Check Rollins’ historical EPS and Sales here>>>

Check Hyperfine’s historical EPS and Sales here>>>

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Zacks Recommendation Upgrade Drives Vista Energy and Pennant Higher 

Shares of Vista Energy (VIST - Free Report) and The Pennant Group, Inc. (PNTG - Free Report) have advanced 18% and 13.4%, respectively, since their Zacks Recommendation was upgraded to Outperform on February 14.

While the Zacks Rank is our short-term rating system that is most effective over the one- to three-month holding horizon, the Zacks Recommendation aims to predict performance over the next 6 to 12 months. However, just like the Zacks Rank, the foundation for the Zacks Recommendation is trends in earnings estimate revisions.

The Zacks Recommendation classifies stocks into three groups — Outperform, Neutral and Underperform. While these recommendations are determined quantitatively, our analysts have the flexibility to override them for the 1100+ stocks they closely follow based on their better judgment of factors such as valuation, industry conditions and management effectiveness than the quantitative model.

To access our research reports with Zacks Recommendations for the 1100+ stocks we cover, click here>>>

Zacks Focus List Stocks Lululemon, Microsoft Soar High

Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU - Free Report) , which belongs to the Zacks Focus List, have risen 18.9% over the past 12 weeks. The stock was added to the Focus List on December 12, 2017. Another Focus-List holding, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report) , which was added to the portfolio on February 1,2016, has also returned 18.9% over the past 12 weeks. 

The Zacks Focus List is a model portfolio of 50 hand-picked stocks that possess the right fundamental ingredients to outperform the market over the next 12 months. These 50 stocks are picked from a long list of stocks with the highest Zacks Rank.

Since its inception on February 1, 1996, the Focus List portfolio has delivered an annualized return of +12.9%.

Unlock all of our powerful research, tools and analysis, including the Focus List, Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research Reports, Zacks Earnings ESP Filter, Premium Screener and more, as part of Zacks Premium. Gain full access now >>

Zacks ECAP Stocks Novo Nordisk and Church & Dwight Make Significant Gains

Novo Nordisk A/S (NVO - Free Report) , a component of our Earnings Certain Admiral Portfolio (ECAP), jumped 22.2% over the past 12 weeks. Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (CHD - Free Report) followed Novo Nordisk with 17.2% returns.

ECAP is a model portfolio of 30 concentrated, ultra-defensive, long-term Buy and Hold stocks. 

With little to no turnover and annual rebalance periodicity, the ECAP seeks to minimize capital loss by holding shares of companies whose earnings streams exhibit a proven 20+ year track record of surviving recessionary periods with minimal impact on aggregate earnings growth relative to the overall S&P 500.

The ECAP and many other model portfolios are available as part of Zacks Advisor Tools, a cloud-based solution to access Zacks award-winning stock, mutual fund and ETF research. Click here to schedule a demo.

Zacks ECDP Stocks General Mills and Hershey’s Outperform Peers

General Mills, Inc. (GIS - Free Report) , which is part of our Earnings Certain Dividend Portfolio (ECDP), has returned 17.4% over the past 12 weeks. Another ECDP stock, The Hershey Company (HSY - Free Report) , has climbed 15.6% over the same time frame. Of course, the inclination of investors toward quality dividend stocks to secure an income stream amid the heightened market volatility contributed to this performance.

Check General Mills’ dividend history here>>>

Check Hershey’s dividend history here>>>

With an extremely low Beta and a history of minimum earnings variability over the last 20+ years, this 25-stock portfolio helps significantly mitigate risk. The ECDP has consistently outperformed the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (NOBL - Free Report) .

Click here to access this portfolio on Zacks Advisor Tools.

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