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Here's Why Momentum Investors Will Love Photronics (PLAB)

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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 Photronics (PLAB - Free Report) , which currently has a Momentum Style Score of B. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.

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. Photronics 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?

In order to see if PLAB is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this electronics imaging company holds up.

Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.

For PLAB, shares are up 0.25% over the past week while the Zacks Semiconductor Equipment - Photomasks industry is down 0.85% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 36.68% compares favorably with the industry's 19.46% 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 Photronics have risen 47.64%, and are up 64.57% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 8.72% and 32.19%, respectively.

Investors should also take note of PLAB'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. Right now, PLAB is averaging 1,036,891 shares for the last 20 days.

Earnings Outlook

The Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with PLAB.

Over the past two months, 3 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost PLAB's consensus estimate, increasing from $0.74 to $0.91 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 1 estimate has moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.

Bottom Line

Given these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that PLAB 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 Photronics on your short list.


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