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5 Stocks With Relative Price Strength to Boost Your Returns

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Whether a stock has the potential to offer considerable returns is determined primarily by its earnings and valuation ratios. Simultaneously, it is important to check whether its price performance exceeds its peers or the industry average.

On such comparison, if we find that a stock is unable to match up to wider sectoral growth despite having impressive earnings momentum or valuation multiples, it may be better to avoid it.

However, those outperforming their respective industries or benchmarks should be included in your portfolio, since they have a higher chance of securing significant returns. Picking a stock that outperforms its peers ensures that you have a winning option on your hands.

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.

Screening Parameters

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 (Strong Buy) 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 10 stocks that made it through the screen:

Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. (VSI - Free Report) : One of the largest specialty retailer and marketer of nutritional products in the United, Vitamin Shoppe has a VGM Score of A. Over 30 days, the Secaucus, NJ-based company has seen the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 and 2019 increase 156.5% and 138.7%, to 13 cents and 12 cents per share, respectively.

North American Construction Group Ltd. (NOA - Free Report) : North American Construction Group, headquartered in Alberta, Canada, is a major provider of earth-moving, infrastructure and mining services, particularly in the oil sands. The firm has a VGM Score of A and a good earnings surprise history. It has a 75% track of outperforming estimates over the last four quarters at an average rate of 35.4%.

Verso Corporation (VRS - Free Report) : Verso is one of the leading manufacturers of  printing and specialty papers and pulp in North America. The 2018 Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Miamisburg, OH-based company is $2.01, representing some 368% earnings per share growth over 2017. Next year’s average forecast is $3.19, pointing to another 58.7% growth. Verso has a VGM Score of A.

Amedisys, Inc. (AMED - Free Report) : Amedisys provides home health and hospice services throughout the United States to the growing chronic, co-morbid, and aging American population. Sporting a VGM Score of B, this Baton Rouge, LA-headquartered company’s expected EPS growth rate for three to five years currently stands at 18.6%, comparing favorably with the industry's growth rate of 12.4%.

Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (HSII - Free Report) : Founded in 1953 and headquartered in Chicago, IL, Heidrick & Struggles International is a leading executive search firm, specializing in searches for senior executives. The company has a VGM Score of B and an enviable earnings surprise history. It surpassed estimates in three of the last four quarters.

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.

The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.

Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today

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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