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3 Reasons Growth Investors Will Love eHealth (EHTH)

Zacks Equity Research
Electronics for Imaging (EFII) doesn't possess the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely earnings beat in its upcoming report. Get prepared with the key expectations.

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 growth stock that can live up to its true potential can be a tough task.

That's because, these stocks usually carry above-average risk and volatility. In fact, betting on a stock for which the growth story is actually over or nearing its end could lead to significant loss.

However, 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, makes it pretty easy to find cutting-edge growth stocks.

Our proprietary system currently recommends eHealth (EHTH) as one such stock. This company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also 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 provider of internet-based heath insurance agency services is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:

Earnings Growth

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 eHealth is 68.8%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 23.6% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 10.9%.

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 exhibits how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.

Right now, eHealth has an S/TA ratio of 0.63, which means that the company gets $0.63 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 0.38, it can be said that the company is more efficient.

While the level of efficiency in generating sales matters a lot, so does the sales growth of a company. And eHealth is well positioned from a sales growth perspective too. The company's sales are expected to grow 27% this year versus the industry average of 4.7%.

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 eHealth have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 31.1% over the past month.

Bottom Line

eHealth has not only earned a Growth Score of A based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above, but it also carries a Zacks Rank #2 because of the positive earnings estimate revisions.

You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

This combination positions eHealth well for outperformance, so growth investors may want to bet on it.


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