Growth stocks are attractive to many investors, as above-average financial growth helps these stocks easily grab the market's attention and produce exceptional returns. However, it isn't easy to find a great growth stock.
That's because, these stocks usually carry above-average risk and volatility. In fact, betting on a stock for which the growth story is actually over or nearing its end could lead to significant loss.
However, the Zacks Growth Style Score (part of the Zacks Style Scores system), which looks beyond the traditional growth attributes to analyze a company's real growth prospects, makes it pretty easy to find cutting-edge growth stocks.
Our proprietary system currently recommends MarketAxess (MKTX - Free Report) as one such stock. This company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank.
Research shows that stocks carrying the best growth features consistently beat the market. And for stocks that have a combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy), returns are even better.
Here are three of the most important factors that make the stock of this operator of bond trading platforms a great growth pick right now.
Earnings growth is arguably the most important factor, as stocks exhibiting exceptionally surging profit levels tend to attract the attention of most investors. And for growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is definitely preferable, and often an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.
While the historical EPS growth rate for MarketAxess is 22.5%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 13.8% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 0.5%.
Impressive Asset Utilization Ratio
Asset utilization ratio -- also known as sales-to-total-assets (S/TA) ratio -- is often overlooked by investors, but it is an important indicator in growth investing. This metric shows how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.
Right now, MarketAxess has an S/TA ratio of 0.63, which means that the company gets $0.63 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 0.28, it can be said that the company is more efficient.
While the level of efficiency in generating sales matters a lot, so does the sales growth of a company. And MarketAxess is well positioned from a sales growth perspective too. The company's sales are expected to grow 14% this year versus the industry average of 3.8%.
Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions
Beyond the metrics outlined above, investors should consider the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is a plus here. Empirical research shows that there is a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.
There have been upward revisions in current-year earnings estimates for MarketAxess. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 0.5% over the past month.
MarketAxess has not only earned a Growth Score of A based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above, but it also carries a Zacks Rank #2 because of the positive earnings estimate revisions.
You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
This combination indicates that MarketAxess is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.