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 includes access to the Zacks Style Scores as well.
What are the Zacks Style Scores?
The Zacks Style Scores is a unique set of guidelines that rates stocks based on three popular investing types, and were developed as complementary indicators for the Zacks Rank. This combination helps investors choose securities with the highest chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.
Each stock is given an alphabetic rating of A, B, C, D or F based on their value, growth, and momentum qualities. With this system, an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on, meaning the better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform.
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 like to use all three kinds of investing, then the VGM Score is for you. It's a combination of all Style Scores, and is an important indicator to use with the Zacks Rank. The VGM Score rates each stock on their shared weighted styles, narrowing down the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum.
How Style Scores Work with the Zacks Rank
The Zacks Rank is a proprietary stock-rating model that harnesses the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings expectations, to help investors build 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.
But it can feel overwhelming to pick the right stocks for you and your investing goals with over 800 top-rated stocks to choose from.
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: HealthEquity ( HQY Quick Quote HQY - Free Report)
Draper, UT-headquartered HealthEquity provides integrated solutions for health-care account management, health reimbursement arrangement and flexible spending accounts for health plans, insurance companies and third-party administrators in the United States.
HQY is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of B.
Additionally, the company could be a top pick for growth investors. HQY has a Growth Style Score of B, forecasting year-over-year earnings growth of 49.3% for the current fiscal year.
For fiscal 2024, one analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.01 to $2.03 per share. HQY boasts an average earnings surprise of 13%.
With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Growth and VGM Style Scores, HQY should be on investors' short list.