Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.
While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.
Below, we take a look at Align Technology (ALGN - Free Report) , a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of B. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.
It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Align Technology currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.
You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>
Set to Beat the Market?
Let's discuss some of the components of the Momentum Style Score for ALGN that show why this maker of the Invisalign tooth-straightening system shows promise as a solid momentum pick.
A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.
For ALGN, shares are up 4.12% over the past week while the Zacks Medical - Dental Supplies industry is up 0.14% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 11.14% compares favorably with the industry's 0.69% performance as well.
While any stock can see its price increase, it takes a real winner to consistently beat the market. That is why looking at longer term price metrics -- such as performance over the past three months or year -- can be useful as well. Over the past quarter, shares of Align Technology have risen 28.39%, and are up 15.91% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 6.98% and 7.99%, respectively.
Investors should also pay attention to ALGN's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. ALGN is currently averaging 1,195,443 shares for the last 20 days.
The Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with ALGN.
Over the past two months, 8 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost ALGN's consensus estimate, increasing from $5.08 to $5.44 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 7 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.
Given these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that ALGN is a #2 (Buy) stock and boasts a Momentum Score of B. If you're looking for a fresh pick that's set to soar in the near-term, make sure to keep Align Technology on your short list.