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Find Strong Stocks Amid Volatility with this New Analyst Coverage Screener

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Benjamin Rains
·5 min read
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All three major U.S. indexes fell on Tuesday, with the Nasdaq posting the biggest decline, down 1.7% during regular trading. The decline came after the S&P 500 surged on March 1 to record its best session since June, while the tech-heavy index popped 3%.

Monday’s climb saw buyers step up to lift the S&P 500 off its 50-day moving average, which has provided support during the most recent two pullbacks. Many on Wall Street likely saw some of the strongest stocks on the market trading at too big of discounts to pass up. Tuesday’s decline has the Nasdaq resting about 6% below its February 12 records, with the benchmark index only roughly 2% off the pace.

The pullback in the second half of February coincided with a fast spike in U.S. Treasury yields, as investors speculate about the possibility of inflation that could be driven by increased government spending and the potentially huge economic comeback once the coronavirus vaccine is widely distributed.

Despite these worries, the recent decline could be nothing more than a healthy and common pullback as the market continued to rip higher in 2021. Therefore, investors might want to search for stocks that have grabbed more analyst attention amid the recent volatility.

New Analyst Coverage

Broker recommendations play their part no matter how investors feel about them. And we seemingly all take a look no matter what. Individual investors, large institutional portfolio managers, and everyone in between are likely pleased to see one of their stocks get an upgraded rating or a new analyst cover the company.

Investor interest can generate more analyst coverage. This helps explain why analysts jump on young, much-hyped and talked about tech companies. Then, as new coverage is initiated, the company and the stock become more visible, which in turn often leads to more demand potential and therefore the possibility of higher prices. 

Plus, analysts almost always initiate coverage with a positive recommendation. And the logic follows because why spend all the time and write a research report on a company not widely tracked only to say it’s not good?

When it comes to companies with little to no analyst coverage, one new recommendation can sometimes give portfolio managers the validation they need to build a position. And the more money they can invest, the more they can potentially influence prices.

The best way to use this information is to search for companies with analyst coverage that has increased over the last 4 weeks. We just look at the number of analyst recommendations today and compare it to the number of analyst recommendations 4 weeks ago.

The rule of thumb here is that an increase in coverage leans bullish and a decrease signals bearish behavior. It is also worth pointing out that, in general, the change in the average broker recommendation is a better indicator than the actual recommendation itself.

On top of that, it is typically more bullish if the increase went from none to one or if the coverage was minimal to begin with. (As the number of analysts climbs the addition of new coverage isn’t earth-shattering.) In the end, increased coverage is still better than decreased coverage, unless the coverage is heading in the wrong direction. 

Now let’s try this screen…

• Number of Broker Ratings now greater than the Number of Broker Ratings four weeks ago

(This shows stocks where new coverage has recently been added.)

• Average Broker Rating less than Average Broker Rating four weeks ago

(By 'less than', we mean 'better than' four weeks ago.)

• Prices greater than or equal to 5

(We’re applying all of the above parameters to stocks above $5 a share since many money managers won't even look at stocks under $5)

• Average Daily Volume greater than or equal to 100,000 shares

(If there's not enough volume, even individual investors won't want it).

Here are three of the roughly 15 stocks that came through the screen this week…

Vuzix Corporation (VUZI) - (from 2 analysts four weeks ago to 3)

HyreCar Inc. (HYRE) - (from 2 analysts four weeks ago to 3)

Stamps.com Inc. (STMP) - (from 2 analysts four weeks ago to 3)

Many screeners won't let you search for the number of analysts covering a stock, let alone comparing the amount of coverage they had weeks or even months ago. But you can with the Research Wizard. And you can backtest it all. Find out how to pick the right stocks right now by taking a free trial to the Research Wizard stock picking and backtesting program.

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

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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.

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Vuzix Corporation (VUZI) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Stamps.com Inc. (STMP) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HyreCar Inc. (HYRE) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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