Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With 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 that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.
Even though momentum is a popular stock characteristic, it can be tough to define. Debate surrounding which are the best and worst metrics to focus on is lengthy, but the Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.
Below, we take a look at Heartland Express (HTLD - 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. Heartland Express 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 HTLD that show why this trucking and logistics company 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's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.
For HTLD, shares are up 4.81% over the past week while the Zacks Transportation - Truck industry is up 0.71% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 12.66% compares favorably with the industry's 12.51% performance as well.
Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Over the past quarter, shares of Heartland Express have risen 21.78%, and are up 5.95% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 3.69% and 5.5%, respectively.
Investors should also pay attention to HTLD'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. HTLD is currently averaging 274,575 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 HTLD.
Over the past two months, 7 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost HTLD's consensus estimate, increasing from $0.93 to $1.00 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 4 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 HTLD 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 Heartland Express on your short list.