Investors generally gauge a stock’s potential return by examining earnings growth and valuation multiples. At the same time, it’s important to measure the performance of such a stock relative to its industry or peers, or the appropriate benchmark.
If you see that a stock is underperforming on fundamental factors, then it would be prudent to move on and find a better alternative. However, those outperforming their respective sectors in terms of price should be selected because they stand a better chance to provide considerable returns.
Then again, it is imperative that you determine whether or not an investment has relevant upside potential when considering stocks with significant relative price strength. Stocks delivering better than the S&P 500 over a period of 1 to 3 months at the least and having solid fundamentals indicate room for growth and are the best ways to go about this strategy.
Finally, it is important to find out whether analysts are optimistic about the upcoming earnings results of these companies. In order to do this, we have added positive estimate revisions for the current quarter’s (Q1) earnings to our screen. When a stock undergoes an upward revision, it leads to additional price gains.
Relative % Price change – 12 weeks greater than 0
Relative % Price change – 4 weeks greater than 0
Relative % Price change – 1 week greater than 0
(We have considered those stocks that have been outperforming the S&P 500 over the last 12 weeks, four weeks and one week.)
% Change (Q1) Est. over 4 Weeks greater than 0: Positive current quarter estimate revisions over the last four weeks.
Zacks Rank equal to 1: Only Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks – that have returned more than 26% annually over the last 26 years and surpassed the S&P 500 in 23 of the last 26 years – can get through. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Current Price greater than or equal to $5 and Average 20-day Volume greater than or equal to 50,000: A minimum price of $5 is a good standard to screen low-priced stocks, while a high trading volume would imply adequate liquidity.
VGM Score less than or equal to B: Our research shows that stocks with a VGM Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 (Buy) offer the best upside potential.
Here are the five of the 12 stocks that made it through the screen:
NetApp, Inc. (NTAP - Free Report) : NetApp, headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, provides enterprise storage and data management software and hardware products and services. The firm has a VGM Score of B and an excellent earnings surprise history. It has a 100% track of outperforming estimates over the last four quarters at an average rate of 11.25%.
Steel Dynamics, Inc. (STLD - Free Report) : Steel Dynamics is a leading North American steel producer and metal recycler. Sporting a VGM Score of B, this Fort Wayne, IN-headquartered company’s expected EPS growth rate for three to five years currently stands at 12%, comparing favorably with the industry's growth rate of 11.6%.
UniFirst Corporation (UNF - Free Report) : One of the largest providers of uniform and textile services in North America, UniFirst has a VGM Score of B. Over 30 days, the Wilmington, MA-based company has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for FY 2018 and FY 2019 increase 20.3% and 15.7%, to $6.64 and $6.99 per share, respectively.
Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. (RS - Free Report) : Founded in 1939 and headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, Reliance Steel & Aluminum is a leading metals service center company engaged in value-added materials management and metals processing services. The company distributes over 100,000 metal products to more than 125,000 customers across a vast spectrum of industries. It has a VGM Score of B and an enviable earnings surprise history. It surpassed estimates in each of the last four quarters.
Stepan Company (SCL - Free Report) : Stepan Company is a major producer of specialty and intermediate chemicals used in wide-ranging industries. The 2018 Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Northfield, IL-based company is $5.14, representing some 10.5% earnings per share growth over 2017. Next year’s average forecast is $5.74, pointing to another 11.7% growth. Stepan Company has a VGM Score of B.
You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.
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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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