Wall Street is off to a dwindling start to 2020 thanks to escalating geopolitical tension. Though it may unsettle investors’ nerves in the near term, the long-term picture of the investing world appears pretty decent. Several market experts are of the view that stocks are “nowhere close to being overvalued before this bull cycle is over.”
Against this bullish backdrop, investors can definitely bet on stocks with a rising P/E. Agreed, it is a bit unnatural investing practice. Generally, investors love stocks with a low price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. The general perception is that the lower the P/E, the higher will be the value of the stock. The simple logic is that a stock’s current market price does not justify its earnings potential and therefore has room to run.
But stocks with a rising P/E can be equally enticing. We’ll tell you why.
Why Rising P/E a Valuable Tool?
Investors should note that stock price moves in tandem with earnings performance. If earnings come in stronger, the price of a stock shoots up. Solid quarterly earnings and the forward guidance boost earnings forecasts, leading to stronger demand for the stock and an uptrend in its price.
So, if the price is rising steadily, it means that investors are assured of the stock’s fundamental strength and expect some strong positives out of it. This is because the investor expects earnings of the company to rise at a faster pace in the future on the back of strong fundamentals. Also, studies have revealed that stocks have seen their P/E ratios jump over 100% from their breakout point in the cycle. So, if you can pick stocks early in their breakout cycle, you can end up seeing considerable gains.
The Winning Strategy
In order to shortlist stocks that are exhibiting an increasing P/E, we chose the following as our primary screening parameters.
EPS growth estimate for the current year is greater than or equal to last year’s actual growth
Percentage change in last year EPS should be greater than or equal to zero
(These two criteria point to flat earnings or a growth trend over the years.)
Percentage change in price over four weeks greater than the percentage change in price over 12 weeks
Percentage change in price over 12 weeks greater than percentage change in price over 24 weeks
(These two criteria show that price of the stock is increasing consistently over the said timeframes.)
Percentage price change for four weeks relative to the S&P 500 greater than the percentage price change for 12 weeks relative to the S&P 500
Percentage price change for 12 weeks relative to the S&P 500 greater than the percentage price change for 24 weeks relative to the S&P 500
(Here, the case for consistent price gains gets even stronger as it displays percentage price changes relative to the S&P 500.)
Percentage price change for 12 weeks is 20% higher than or equal to the percentage price change for 24 weeks, but it should not exceed 100%
(A 20% increase in the price of a stock from the breakout point gives cues of an impending uptrend. But a jump of over 100% indicates that there is limited scope for further upside and that the stock might be due for a reversal.)
In addition, we place a few other criteria that lead us to some likely outperformers.
Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: Only companies with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) can get through.
Average 20-day Volume greater than or equal to 50,000: High trading volume implies that the stocks have adequate liquidity.
Just these few criteria narrowed down the universe from over 7,700 stocks to just 13.
Here are five of 38 stocks that passed the screen:
Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. (DNKN - Free Report) :This quick-service restaurant chain belongs a favorable Zacks industry (placed at the top 25% of 250+ industries) and carries a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ACRX - Free Report) : This #2 Ranked specialty pharmaceutical company is focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for the treatment of pain. It belongs to a favorable Zacks industry (top 28%).
Dynatronics Corporation (DYNT - Free Report) : This is involved in the design, manufacture and sale of medical devices for therapeutic use by medical practitioners. The company belongs to a favorable Zacks industry (top 33%) and carries a Zacks Rank #2.
Chart Industries Inc. (GTLS - Free Report) : This is a leading independent global manufacturer of highly engineered equipment servicing end market applications in Energy, Industry, Life Sciences and Respiratory Healthcare with a unique business portfolio. It carries a Zacks Rank #2.
Black Hills Corporation (BKH - Free Report) : This is an energy company that generates wholesale electricity and produces natural gas, crude oil and coal. It carries a Zacks Rank #2.
You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.
The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.
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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.
Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.