Right from the top brass to research analysts, earnings growth captivates all. This is because earnings are a measure of the money a company is making. Notably, earnings are essentially revenues that the company generates after deducting the cost of production over a given period of time.
Upbeat earnings results are more often than not followed by an uptick in the share price. Studies, however, have shown that a majority of successful stocks see acceleration in earnings before a positive stock price movement. Hence, earnings acceleration works even better in driving stock price.
So, what is earnings acceleration? It is the incremental growth in a company’s earnings per share (EPS). In other words, if the rate of a company’s quarter-over-quarter earnings growth increases within a stipulated frame of time, it can be called earnings acceleration.
In case of earnings growth, you pay for something that is already reflected in the stock price. But, earnings acceleration helps spot stocks that haven’t caught the attention of investors yet, which once secured will invariably lead to a rally in the share price. This is because earnings acceleration considers both direction and magnitude of growth rates.
Increasing percentage of earnings growth means that the company is fundamentally sound and has been on the right track for a considerable period of time. On the other hand, a sideways percentage of earnings growth indicates a period of consolidation or slowdown, while a decelerating percentage of earnings growth may at times drag prices down.
Hence, earnings acceleration should be viewed as a key metric for share price outperformance.
The Winning Strategy
Let’s look at stocks for which the last two quarter-over-quarter percentage EPS growth rates exceed the growth rates of the previous periods. The projected quarter-over-quarter percentage EPS growth rates are also expected to be higher than the previous periods’ growth rates.
EPS % Projected Growth (Q1)/(Q0) greater than EPS % Growth (Q0)/(Q-1): The projected growth rate for the current quarter (Q1) over the completed quarter (Q0) has to be greater than the growth rate from the completed quarter (Q0) over one quarter ago (Q-1).
EPS % Growth (Q0)/(Q-1) greater than EPS % Growth (Q-1)/(Q-2): The growth rate for the completed quarter (Q0) over one quarter ago (Q-1) has to be greater than the growth rate from one quarter ago (Q-1) over two quarters ago (Q-2).
EPS % Growth (Q-1)/(Q-2) greater than EPS % Growth (Q-2)/(Q-3): The growth rate from one quarter ago (Q-1) over two quarters ago (Q-2) has to be greater than the growth rate from two quarters ago (Q-2) over three quarters ago (Q-3).
In addition to this, we have added the following parameters:
Current Price greater than or equal to $5: This screens out the low-priced stocks.
Average 20-day volume greater than or equal to 50,000: High trading volume implies that the stocks have adequate liquidity.
The above criteria narrowed down the universe of around 7,735 stocks to only 20. Here are the top three stocks:
Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (WWW - Free Report) is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of a range of casual footwear and apparel, outdoor and athletic footwear and apparel, children's footwear, industrial work boots and apparel, and uniform shoes and boots. The company has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings advanced 1.3% over the last 60 days. The company’s estimated earnings growth rate for the current year is 18.7%.
CGI Group Inc (GIB - Free Report) , directly or through its subsidiaries, manages information technology (IT) services, as well as business process services (BPS). The company has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings increased 1% over the last 60 days. The company’s estimated earnings growth rate for the current year is 11.8%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Scorpio Bulkers Inc (SALT - Free Report) is a shipping company. The company owns and operates newbuilding dry bulk carriers. The company has a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings rose 64% over the last 60 days. The company’s estimated earnings growth rate for the current year is 64%.
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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.
Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance
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