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It doesn't matter your age or experience: taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals for all investors. Luckily, Zacks Premium offers several different ways to do both.
The popular research service can help you become a smarter, more self-assured investor, giving you access to daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank, the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research reports, and Premium stock screens.
It also includes access to the Zacks Style Scores.
What are the Zacks Style Scores?
The Zacks Style Scores, developed alongside the Zacks Rank, are complementary indicators that rate stocks based on three widely-followed investing methodologies; they also help investors pick stocks with the best chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.
Based on their value, growth, and momentum characteristics, each stock is assigned a rating of A, B, C, D, or F. The better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform; an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on.
The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:
Value investors love finding good stocks at good prices, especially before the broader market catches on to a stock's true value. Utilizing ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and many other multiples, the Value Style Score identifies the most attractive and most discounted stocks.
While good value is important, growth investors are more focused on a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score takes projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow into account to uncover stocks that will see long-term, sustainable growth.
Momentum traders and investors live by the saying "the trend is your friend." This investing style is all about taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Employing factors like one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, the Momentum Style Score can indicate favorable times to build a position in high-momentum stocks.
What if you like to use all three types of investing? The VGM Score is a combination of all Style Scores, making it one of the most comprehensive indicators to use with the Zacks Rank. It rates each stock on their combined weighted styles, which helps narrow down the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum.
How Style Scores Work with the Zacks Rank
The Zacks Rank is a proprietary stock-rating model that harnesses the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings expectations, to help investors build a successful portfolio.
It's highly successful, with #1 (Strong Buy) stocks producing an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988. That's more than double the S&P 500. But because of the large number of stocks we rate, there are over 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, plus another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.
But it can feel overwhelming to pick the right stocks for you and your investing goals with over 800 top-rated stocks to choose from.
That's where the Style Scores come in.
To have the best chance of big returns, you'll want to always consider stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B, which will give you the highest probability of success. If you're looking at stocks with a #3 (Hold) rank, it's important they have Scores of A or B as well to ensure as much upside potential as possible.
As mentioned above, the Scores are designed to work with the Zacks Rank, so any change to a company's earnings outlook should be a deciding factor when picking which stocks to buy.
For instance, a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one that boasts Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings forecast, and a much greater likelihood its share price will decline as well.
Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.
Stock to Watch: International Paper (IP)
Incorporated in 1941, Headquartered in Memphis, TN, International Paper Company is a global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper products with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia, and North Africa. The company employs approximately 50,000 people and is strategically located in more than 150 countries serving customers worldwide.
IP is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of B.
Additionally, the company could be a top pick for growth investors. IP has a Growth Style Score of B, forecasting year-over-year earnings growth of 73.9% for the current fiscal year.
Three analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.03 to $4.87 per share. IP also boasts an average earnings surprise of 16.7%.
With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Growth and VGM Style Scores, IP should be on investors' short list.
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