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.
In addition to volatility, these stocks carry above-average risk by their very nature. Also, one could end up losing from a stock whose growth story is actually over or nearing its end.
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.
Forward Air (FWRD) 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 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 contractor for the air cargo industry 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 Forward Air is 7%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 44.2% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 27.7%.
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 exhibits how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.
Right now, Forward Air has an S/TA ratio of 1.59, which means that the company gets $1.59 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 1.48, it can be said that the company is more efficient.
In addition to efficiency in generating sales, sales growth plays an important role. And Forward Air looks attractive from a sales growth perspective as well. The company's sales are expected to grow 17.8% this year versus the industry average of 15.8%.
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 Forward Air have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 1.8% over the past month.
Forward Air 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 Forward Air well for outperformance, so growth investors may want to bet on it.
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