Markets have delivered a robust performance in 2017 with the major benchmarks scaling new highs. The S&P 500 is currently at its highest level at 2,687.54 points, reflecting a 20.2% year-to-date gain. At 24,837.51 points, the Dow has also witnessed a 25.3% year-to-date increase. Although, we have witnessed a series of natural disasters this year that have affected Florida, Houston, Northern California, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, these could not bring the market down.
What’s Behind the 2017 Market Boom?
Strong earnings and steady economic growth have helped the market to flourish in 2017. It boosted investor sentiment. In the third quarter of 2017, overall earnings for S&P 500 companies were up 6.9% year over year. Also, per the Department of Commerce, U.S. Real GDP increased 3.2% in the third quarter, the highest since the first quarter of 2015.
Another economic index, unemployment is at a 17-year low of 4.1%, while 228,000 new jobs were added in November alone. The majority of the increase came from construction firms and manufacturers. Hiring in the space increased during the recovery from storm-related disruptions. Annual hourly pay also climbed up 2.5%, strengthening the labor market. The effect of these improvements is expected to continue in 2018 as well.
Finally, the Trump effect was a significant trigger for the market. Several industries witnessed a strong boost due to his corporate-friendly policies. Exports have increased rapidly in the last few quarters. U.S. companies have benefited from his plans and we expect them to do so in the coming quarters. Notably, total earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017 are expected to increase 8.6% year over year, backed by 6.8% higher revenues. The energy sector, with a whopping 168.4% year-over-year projected earnings growth, is expected to lead the market in the quarter. Arguably, the best of the lot (policies) is the tax-cut, which brought the corporate tax rate down to 21% from 35%.
How Will Things Shape Up in 2018?
We believe that with a healthy labor market, low interest rates, strong U.S. dollar and oil prices well below their 2014 peak, the world's largest economy may have more leg to run in 2018. In fact, we expect average S&P 500 earnings in 2018 to rise by an impressive 11.7% year over year. This calls for investing in growth stocks, which can help investors benefit the most from the current bullish trend.
Selecting the right growth stocks is not an easy job. Allow us to do the work for you. Since long-term investing bodes well, it will be a wise move to invest in growth stocks.
With the help of our new Style Score System, we have shortlisted seven Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks with a Growth Score of A that hold immense potential. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
In particular, our Growth Score condenses all the essential metrics from a company’s financial statements to get a true sense of the quality and sustainability of its growth. Our research shows that stocks with a Growth Score of A or B when combined with a favorable Zacks Rank offer the best investment opportunities in the growth investing space.
Moreover, these companies – having a market capitalization of over $5 billion – enjoy leading market positions, have a global footprint, strong cash positions and are large enough to stay strong even in the face of unfavorable events.
We have listed below seven hot stocks for you:
DXC Technology Company (DXC - Free Report) , an IT services company that primarily operates in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, has a market capitalization of roughly $26.9 billion. The Tysons, VA-based company is expected to witness a 14.9% surge in earnings in 2018. The company has delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 25.4% in the last four quarters.
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Huntsman Corporation (HUN - Free Report) , a global manufacturer of differentiated and commodity chemical products for a variety of industrial and consumer applications, has a market capitalization of roughly $7.4 billion. The Woodlands, TX-based company has witnessed three positive estimate revisions in the last 60 days for the next year, with no negative estimate revisions. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 32.7% in the last four quarters.
Micron Technology, Inc. (MU - Free Report) , an advanced semiconductor solutions provider, has market capitalization of roughly $7.4 billion. The Boise, ID-based company has witnessed six positive estimate revisions in the last 30 days for the next year, with no negative estimate revisions. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 10.2% in the last four quarters.
Oshkosh Corporation (OSK - Free Report) , a designer, manufacturer and marketer of specialty vehicles and vehicle bodies, has market capitalization of roughly $6.6 billion. The Oshkosh, WI-based company is expected to witness a 7% increase in earnings in 2018. The company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 53.2% in the last four quarters.
Statoil ASA , an oil and gas company, has market capitalization of roughly $66.3 billion. The Stavanger, Norway-based company has witnessed two positive estimate revisions in the last 30 days for the next year, with no negative estimate revisions. The company has delivered a positive earnings surprise of 13.6% in the third quarter of 2017.
Tata Motors Ltd (TTM - Free Report) , a leading automotive manufacturer, has market capitalization of roughly $21.3 billion. This Mumbai, India-based company is expected to witness a 107.9% surge in earnings in 2018.
WellCare Health Plans, Inc. provides managed care services for government-sponsored health care programs. It has market capitalization of roughly $9 billion. The Tampa, FL-based company is expected to witness a 10% rise in sales in 2018.
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