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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 Molina (MOH), 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. Molina 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?
Let's discuss some of the components of the Momentum Style Score for MOH that show why this provider of Medicaid-related services shows promise as a solid momentum pick.
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's also helpful to compare a security to its industry; this can show investors the best companies in a particular area.
For MOH, shares are up 16.01% over the past week while the Zacks Medical - HMOs industry is up 18.25% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 28.78% compares favorably with the industry's 10.59% performance as well.
Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Over the past quarter, shares of Molina have risen 14.54%, and are up 18.74% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved -15.62% and -2.89%, respectively.
Investors should also take note of MOH'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. Right now, MOH is averaging 746,814 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 MOH.
Over the past two months, 2 earnings estimates moved higher compared to 1 lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost MOH's consensus estimate, increasing from $11.69 to $11.90 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 1 estimate has moved upwards while there have been 2 downward revisions in the same time period.
Given these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that MOH is a #2 (Buy) stock and boasts a Momentum Score of A. If you're looking for a fresh pick that's set to soar in the near-term, make sure to keep Molina on your short list.
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