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What Makes Cross Country Healthcare (CCRN) a Strong Momentum Stock: Buy Now?

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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.

Even though momentum is a popular stock characteristic, it can be tough to define. Debate surrounding which are the best and worst metrics to focus on is lengthy, but the Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.

Below, we take a look at Cross Country Healthcare (CCRN), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of B. 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. Cross Country Healthcare 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 CCRN is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this provider of health care staffing and workforce management services holds up.

A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.

For CCRN, shares are up 5.42% over the past week while the Zacks Staffing Firms industry is up 0.33% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 7.19% compares favorably with the industry's 4.16% performance as well.

While any stock can see a spike in price, it takes a real winner to consistently outperform the market. Over the past quarter, shares of Cross Country Healthcare have risen 36.68%, and are up 202.27% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 8.26% and 41.69%, respectively.

Investors should also pay attention to CCRN'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. CCRN is currently averaging 245,277 shares for the last 20 days.

Earnings Outlook

The Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with CCRN.

Over the past two months, 5 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost CCRN's consensus estimate, increasing from $0.67 to $1.32 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 5 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.

Bottom Line

Given these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that CCRN is a #2 (Buy) stock and boasts a Momentum Score of B. If you're looking for a fresh pick that's set to soar in the near-term, make sure to keep Cross Country Healthcare on your short list.


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