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.
Sprouts Farmers (SFM - 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.
Research shows that stocks carrying the best growth features consistently beat the market. And returns are even better for stocks that possess the combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).
Here are three of the most important factors that make the stock of this natural and organic food retailer 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 Sprouts Farmers is 12.3%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 4.8% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 4.4%.
Cash Flow Growth
Cash is the lifeblood of any business, but higher-than-average cash flow growth is more beneficial and important for growth-oriented companies than for mature companies. That's because, high cash accumulation enables these companies to undertake new projects without raising expensive outside funds.
Right now, year-over-year cash flow growth for Sprouts Farmers is 27.4%, which is higher than many of its peers. In fact, the rate compares to the industry average of 9.6%.
While investors should actually consider the current cash flow growth, it's worth taking a look at the historical rate too for putting the current reading into proper perspective. The company's annualized cash flow growth rate has been 15.4% over the past 3-5 years versus the industry average of 10%.
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 Sprouts Farmers have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 3.4% over the past month.
While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Sprouts Farmers a Zacks Rank #1 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of B 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 Sprouts Farmers is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.