Taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals for new and old investors, and Zacks Premium offers many different ways to do both.
The popular research service can help you become a smarter, more self-assured investor, giving you access to daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank, the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research reports, and Premium stock screens.
Zacks Premium also includes the Zacks Style Scores.
What are the Zacks Style Scores?
The Zacks Style Scores, developed alongside the Zacks Rank, are complementary indicators that rate stocks based on three widely-followed investing methodologies; they also help investors pick stocks with the best chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.
Based on their value, growth, and momentum characteristics, each stock is assigned a rating of A, B, C, D, or F. The better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform; an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on.
The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:
Finding good stocks at good prices, and discovering which companies are trading under their true value, are what value investors like to focus on. So, the Value Style Score takes into account ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and a host of other multiples to highlight the most attractive and discounted stocks.
Growth investors are more concerned with a stock's future prospects, and the overall financial health and strength of a company. Thus, the Growth Style Score analyzes characteristics like projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow to find stocks that will see sustainable growth over time.
Momentum traders and investors live by the saying "the trend is your friend." This investing style is all about taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Employing factors like one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, the Momentum Style Score can indicate favorable times to build a position in high-momentum stocks.
If you want a combination of all three Style Scores, then the VGM Score will be your friend. It rates each stock on their combined weighted styles, helping you find the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum. It's also one of the best indicators to use with the Zacks Rank.
How Style Scores Work with the Zacks Rank
A proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank utilizes the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings outlook, to help investors create a successful portfolio.
It's highly successful, with #1 (Strong Buy) stocks producing an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988. That's more than double the S&P 500. But because of the large number of stocks we rate, there are over 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, plus another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.
This totals more than 800 top-rated stocks, and it can be overwhelming to try and pick the best stocks for you and your portfolio.
That's where the Style Scores come in.
To maximize your returns, you want to buy stocks with the highest probability of success. This means picking stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you find yourself looking at stocks with a #3 (Hold) rank, make sure they have Scores of A or B as well to ensure as much upside potential as possible.
As mentioned above, the Scores are designed to work with the Zacks Rank, so any change to a company's earnings outlook should be a deciding factor when picking which stocks to buy.
For instance, a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one that boasts Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings forecast, and a much greater likelihood its share price will decline as well.
Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.
Stock to Watch: Encompass Health ( EHC Quick Quote EHC - Free Report)
Encompass Health Corporation is a provider of integrated healthcare services. It offers facility-based patient care through its network of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals. With a national footprint that includes 153 hospitals across 36 states and Puerto Rico, the company delivers high-quality, cost-effective, integrated care in the healthcare space. It provides a continuum of facility-based for its patients and their families, which will gain more prevalence as coordinated care and integrated delivery payment models, such as accountable care organizations and bundled payment arrangements.
EHC is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.
It also boasts a Value Style Score of A thanks to attractive valuation metrics like a forward P/E ratio of 19.44; value investors should take notice.
For fiscal 2023, four analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.07 to $3.15 per share. EHC boasts an average earnings surprise of 4.9%.
With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Value and VGM Style Scores, EHC should be on investors' short list.