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Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.
While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.
Below, we take a look at Essent Group (ESNT), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of A. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.
It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Essent Group currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.
You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>
Set to Beat the Market?
In order to see if ESNT is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this mortgage insurance and reinsurance holding company holds up.
Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.
For ESNT, shares are up 2% over the past week while the Zacks Financial - Mortgage & Related Services industry is flat over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 2.2% compares favorably with the industry's 0.17% performance as well.
While any stock can see a spike in price, it takes a real winner to consistently outperform the market. Shares of Essent Group have increased 8.04% over the past quarter, and have gained 47.14% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 6.39% and 17.29%, respectively.
Investors should also pay attention to ESNT's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. ESNT is currently averaging 444,132 shares for the last 20 days.
The Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with ESNT.
Over the past two months, 3 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost ESNT's consensus estimate, increasing from $5.47 to $5.61 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 3 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.
Taking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that ESNT is a #2 (Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of A. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Essent Group on your short list.
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Essent Group Ltd. (ESNT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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