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How Investors Can Grab Better Returns for Finance Using the Zacks ESP Screener

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·3 min read
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Two factors often determine stock prices in the long run: earnings and interest rates. Investors can't control the latter, but they can focus on a company's earnings results every quarter.

We know earnings results are vital, but how a company performs compared to bottom line expectations can be even more important when it comes to stock prices, especially in the near-term. This means that investors might want to take advantage of these earnings surprises.

The ability to identify stocks that are likely to top quarterly earnings expectations can be profitable, but it's no simple task. Here at Zacks, our Earnings ESP filter helps make things easier.

The Zacks Earnings ESP, Explained

The Zacks Earnings ESP is more formally known as the Expected Surprise Prediction, and it aims to grab the inside track on the latest analyst estimate revisions ahead of a company's report. The idea is relatively intuitive as a newer projection might be based on more complete information.

With this in mind, the Expected Surprise Prediction compares the Most Accurate Estimate (being the most recent) against the overall Zacks Consensus Estimate. The percentage difference provides the ESP figure. The system also utilizes our core Zacks Rank to provide a stronger system for identifying stocks that might beat their next quarterly earnings estimate and possibly see the stock price climb.

In fact, when we combined a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better and a positive Earnings ESP, stocks produced a positive surprise 70% of the time. Perhaps most importantly, using these parameters has helped produce 28.3% annual returns on average, according to our 10 year backtest.

Stocks with a ranking of #3 (Hold), or 60% of all stocks covered by the Zacks Rank, are expected to perform in-line with the broader market. Stocks with rankings of #2 (Buy) and #1 (Strong Buy), or the top 15% and top 5% of stocks, respectively, should outperform the market; Strong Buy stocks should outperform more than any other rank.

Should You Consider Virtu Financial?

The final step today is to look at a stock that meets our ESP qualifications. Virtu Financial (VIRT) earns a #2 (Buy) one days from its next quarterly earnings release on May 4, 2021, and its Most Accurate Estimate comes in at $1.35 a share.

By taking the percentage difference between the $1.35 Most Accurate Estimate and the $1.30 Zacks Consensus Estimate, Virtu Financial has an Earnings ESP of 3.26%. Investors should also know that VIRT is just one of a large group of stocks with positive ESPs. All of these qualifying stocks can be filtered by ESP, Zacks Rank, % Surprise (Last Qtr.), and Reporting date.

Don't forget to head to the Earnings ESP Home Page. There, you'll find lots more earnings-related investing strategies to help build a winning portfolio.

Find Stocks to Buy or Sell Before They're Reported

Use the Zacks Earnings ESP Filter to turn up stocks with the highest probability of positively, or negatively, surprising to buy or sell before they're reported for profitable earnings season trading. Check it out here >>


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Virtu Financial, Inc. (VIRT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research