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.
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.
Our proprietary system currently recommends Fortinet (FTNT) 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 network security company a great growth pick right now.
Arguably nothing is more important than earnings growth, as surging profit levels is what most investors are after. 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 Fortinet is 106.2%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 9.3% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 9.1%.
Impressive Asset Utilization Ratio
Growth investors often overlook asset utilization ratio, also known as sales-to-total-assets (S/TA) ratio, but it is an important feature of a real growth stock. This metric shows how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.
Right now, Fortinet has an S/TA ratio of 0.62, which means that the company gets $0.62 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 0.5, it can be said that the company is more efficient.
In addition to efficiency in generating sales, sales growth plays an important role. And Fortinet looks attractive from a sales growth perspective as well. The company's sales are expected to grow 17.7% this year versus the industry average of 14.6%.
Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions
Superiority of a stock in terms of the metrics outlined above can be further validated by looking at the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is of course favorable 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 Fortinet have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 1.1% over the past month.
While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Fortinet 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 positions Fortinet well for outperformance, so growth investors may want to bet on it.