Investors seek growth stocks to capitalize on above-average growth in financials that help these securities grab the market's attention and produce exceptional returns. But finding a great growth stock is not easy at all.
By their very nature, these stocks carry above-average risk and volatility. Moreover, if a company's growth story is over or nearing its end, betting on it could lead to significant loss.
However, the task of finding cutting-edge growth stocks is made easy with the help of 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.
Asbury Automotive Group (ABG - Free Report) is on the list of such stocks currently recommended by our proprietary system. In addition to a favorable Growth Score, it carries a top Zacks Rank.
Studies have shown that stocks with the best growth features consistently outperform 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.
While there are numerous reasons why the stock of this auto dealership chain is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:
Arguably nothing is more important than earnings growth, as surging profit levels is what most investors are after. For growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is highly preferable, as it is often perceived as an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.
While the historical EPS growth rate for Asbury Automotive is 15.4%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 18.5% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 14.3%.
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, Asbury Automotive has an S/TA ratio of 2.53, which means that the company gets $2.53 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 1.78, it can be said that the company is more efficient.
In addition to efficiency in generating sales, sales growth plays an important role. And Asbury Automotive looks attractive from a sales growth perspective as well. The company's sales are expected to grow 22.1% this year versus the industry average of 4.9%.
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.
The current-year earnings estimates for Asbury Automotive have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 9.6% over the past month.
While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Asbury Automotive a Zacks Rank #1 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of A based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above.
You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
This combination indicates that Asbury Automotive is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.