The earnings season is well past the halfway mark and appears to be on solid footing with decent performance across the table. It seems that the equity markets have more or less factored in the risks from the ongoing trade war (prone to escalate with higher tariffs) and is likely to have a relatively smooth spell, buoyed by improving economic sentiments led by solid domestic job market conditions, higher wage rates and lower taxes.
As investors employ a wait-and-see approach in a classic example of “backing and filling” in the market, they could benefit from ‘cash cow’ stocks that garner higher returns.
However, singling out cash-rich stocks alone does not make for a solid investment proposition unless these are backed by attractive efficiency ratios like return on equity (ROE). A high ROE ensures that the company is reinvesting its cash at a high rate of return.
ROE = Net Income/Shareholders’ Equity
ROE helps investors distinguish profit-generating companies from profit burners and is useful in determining the financial health of a company. In other words, this financial metric enables investors to identify stocks that diligently deploy cash for higher returns.
Moreover, ROE is often used to compare the profitability of a company with other firms in the industry — the higher, the better. It measures how well a company is multiplying its profits without investing new equity capital and portrays management’s efficiency in rewarding shareholders with attractive risk-adjusted returns.
In order to shortlist stocks that are cash rich with high ROE, we have added Cash Flow greater than $1 billion and ROE greater than X-Industry as our primary screening parameters. In addition, we have taken a few other criteria into consideration to arrive at a winning strategy.
Price/Cash Flow less than X-Industry: This metric measures how much investors pay for $1 of free cash flow. A lower ratio indicates that investors need to pay less for a better cash flow generating stock.
Return on Assets (ROA) greater than X-Industry: This metric determines how much profit a company earns for every dollar of asset, which includes cash, accounts receivable, property, equipment, inventory and furniture. The higher the ROA, the better it is for the company.
5-Year EPS Historical Growth greater than X-Industry: This criterion indicates that continued earnings momentum has translated into solid cash strength.
Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) stocks are known to outperform irrespective of the market environment.
Here are five of the 14 stocks that qualified the screen:
Celgene Corporation (CELG - Free Report) : Summit, NJ-based Celgene is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs targeting cancer and inflammatory diseases through next-generation solutions in protein homeostasis, immuno-oncology, epigenetic, immunology and neuro-inflammation. The company has a trailing four-quarter average positive earnings surprise of 2.4% and long-term earnings growth expectation of 21%. Celgene currently sports a Zacks Rank #1.
The Progressive Corporation (PGR - Free Report) : Based in Mayfield Village, OH, Progressive is one of the major auto insurers in the country. Founded in 1965, it is a leading independent agency writer of private passenger auto coverage, and the market share leader for the motorcycle products since 1998. The company has a Zacks Rank #1 along with a trailing four-quarter average positive earnings surprise of 9.2% and long-term earnings growth expectation of 7.3%.
T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. (TROW - Free Report) : Founded in 1937 and headquartered in Baltimore, T. Rowe Price Group is a global investment management firm that provides a broad array of mutual funds, sub-advisory services and separate account management for individual and institutional investors, retirement plans and financial intermediaries. This Zacks Rank #2 stock has a trailing four-quarter average positive earnings surprise of 2.6% and long-term earnings growth expectation of 11.1%.
AMC Networks Inc. (AMCX - Free Report) : Headquartered in New York, AMC Networks is engaged in producing programming and movie content, and owns and operates various cable televisions. The company has a trailing four-quarter average positive earnings surprise of 28.4% and long-term earnings growth expectation of 7.2%. AMC Networks currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Celanese Corporation (CE - Free Report) : Texas-based Celanese is a global hybrid chemical company with diverse products that rank either first or second in their respective markets, based on market share. This Zacks Rank #1 stock has a trailing four-quarter average positive earnings surprise of 11.5% and long-term earnings growth projection of 10%.
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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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