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Pick These 4 Stocks With Amazing Interest Coverage Ratio

Given the current economic scenario, investors should gauge the changing market dynamics and accordingly chalk out a sturdy investment strategy. Well, you can decide to buy or sell a particular stock by looking at its sales and earnings numbers. However, such a strategy does not always warrant superior returns when the market faces a myriad of issues. A critical analysis of the company’s financial background is always required for a better investment decision.

Well, a company should be sound enough to meet its financial obligations. This can be judged with coverage ratios — the higher these are, the more efficient an enterprise will be in meeting its financial obligations. Here, we have discussed one such ratio called the interest coverage ratio.

Interest Coverage Ratio = Earnings before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) divided by Interest Expense.

Molina Healthcare, Inc. MOH, Atmos Energy Corporation ATO, Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN and Option Care Health, Inc. OPCH are four stocks with an impressive interest coverage ratio.

Why Interest Coverage Ratio?

The interest coverage ratio is used to determine how effectively a company can pay the interest charged on its debt.

Debt, which is crucial for most companies to finance operations, comes at a cost called interest. Interest expense has a direct bearing on a company's profits. The company’s creditworthiness depends on how effectively it meets its interest obligations. Therefore, the interest coverage ratio is one of the essential criteria to factor in before making any investment decision.

The interest coverage ratio suggests the number of times interest could be paid from earnings and also gauges the margin of safety a firm carries for paying interest.

An interest coverage ratio lower than 1.0 implies that the company is unable to fulfill its interest obligations and could default on repaying debt. A company that is capable of generating earnings well above its interest expense can withstand financial hardship. One should also track the company’s past performance to determine whether the interest coverage ratio has improved or worsened over a period of time.

What’s the Strategy?

Apart from having an interest coverage ratio that is more than the industry average, adding a favorable Zacks Rank and a VGM Score of A or B to your search criteria should lead to better results.

Interest coverage ratio greater than X-Industry Median

Price greater than or equal to 5: The stocks must all be trading at a minimum of $5 or higher.

5-Year Historical EPS Growth (%) greater than X-Industry Median: Stocks that have a strong EPS growth history.

Projected EPS Growth (%) greater than X-Industry Median: This is the projected EPS growth over the next three to five years. This shows that the stock has near-term earnings growth potential.

Average 20-Day Volume greater than 100,000: A substantial trading volume ensures that the stock is easily tradable.

Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) stocks are known to outperform irrespective of the market environment.

VGM Score of less than or equal to B: Our research shows that stocks with a VGM Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2, offer the best upside potential.

Here are four of the 16 stocks that qualified the screening:

Molina Healthcare, which provides managed healthcare services under the Medicaid and Medicare programs and through the state insurance marketplaces, carries a Zacks Rank #2. The stock has a VGM Score of A. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Molina Healthcare’s current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 4.4% and 16.2%, respectively, from the year-ago period. Molina Healthcare has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 7.5%, on average. The stock has risen 24.3% in the past year.

Atmos Energy, which is engaged in regulated natural gas distribution and pipeline and storage businesses, carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has a VGM Score of B.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Atmos Energy’s current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 23.4% and 7.5%, respectively, from the year-ago period. Atmos Energy has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 1.1%, on average. The stock has declined 1.5% in the past year.

Amazon, a multinational technology company focusing on e-commerce, cloud computing, online advertising, digital streaming and artificial intelligence, carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has a VGM Score of A.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Amazon’s current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 11.1% and 278.9%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. AMZN has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 54.9%, on average. The stock has skyrocketed 60.7% in the past year.

Option Care Health, the nation’s largest independent provider of home and alternate site infusion services, carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has a VGM Score of A.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Option Care Health’s current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 8.3% and 72.3%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. Option Care Health has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 58.7%, on average. The stock has advanced 15.6% in the past year.

You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and backtest them first before taking the investment plunge.

The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.

Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today.

Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Molina Healthcare, Inc (MOH) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Atmos Energy Corporation (ATO) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Option Care Health, Inc. (OPCH) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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