It doesn't matter if you're a growth, value, income, or momentum-focused investor -- building a successful investment portfolio takes skill, research, and a little bit of luck.
But what's the best way to find the right combination of stocks? Because funding things like your retirement, your kids' college tuition, or your short- and long-term savings goals will definitely require significant returns.
Enter the Zacks Rank.
What is the Zacks Rank?
The Zacks Rank is a unique, proprietary stock-rating model that utilizes earnings estimate revisions to help investors build a winning portfolio.
There are four main factors behind the Zacks Rank: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise.
Agreement is the extent to which all brokerage analysts are revising their earnings estimates in the same direction. The greater the percentage of analysts revising their estimates higher, the better chance the stock will outperform.
Magnitude is the size of the recent change in the consensus estimate for the current and next fiscal years.
Upside is the difference between the most accurate estimate, which is calculated by Zacks, and the consensus estimate.
Surprise is made up of a company's last few quarters' earnings per share surprises; companies with a positive earnings surprise are more likely to beat expectations in the future.
Each one of these factors is given a raw score that's recalculated every night, and then compiled into the Zacks Rank. Using this data, stocks are classified into five groups, ranging from "Strong Buy" to "Strong Sell."
The Power of Institutional Investors
The Zacks Rank also allows individual investors, or retail investors, to benefit from the power of institutional investors.
Institutional investors are responsible for managing the trillions of dollars invested in mutual funds, hedge funds, and investment banks. Research has shown that these investors can and do move the market due to the large amount of money they deal with, and thus, the market tends to move in the same direction as them.
In order to determine the fair value of a company and its shares, institutional investors design valuation models that focus on earnings and earnings estimates. Because if you raise earnings estimates, it then creates a higher fair value for a company and its stock price.
Institutional investors then act on these changes in earnings estimates, typically buying stocks with rising estimates and selling those with falling estimates; an increase in earnings estimates can translate into higher stock prices and bigger gains for the investor.
Retail investors who get in at the first sign of upward revisions have a distinct advantage over larger investors since it can often take weeks, if not months, for an institutional investor to build a position. They'll also benefit from the expected institutional buying that could follow.
Not only can the Zacks Rank help you take advantage of trends in earnings estimate revisions, but it can also provide a way to get into stocks that are highly sought after by professionals.
How to Invest with the Zacks Rank
The Zacks Rank is known for transforming investment portfolios. In fact, a portfolio of Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks has beaten the market in 26 of the last 32 years, with an average annual return of +25.41%.
Moreover, stocks with a new #1 (Strong Buy) ranking have some of the biggest profit potential, while those that fell to a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) have some of the worst.
Let's take a look at Generac Holdings (GNRC), which was added to the Zacks Rank #1 list on June 11, 2021.
Headquartered in Waukesha, WI, and founded in 1959, Generac Holdings Inc. is a leading manufacturer of power generation equipment, energy storage systems and other power products including portable, residential, commercial and industrial generators. In addition, the company manufactures light towers, which provide temporary lighting solutions for various end markets, and commercial and industrial mobile heaters and pumps that are used in the oil & gas, construction and other industrial markets. Its product portfolio also includes engines, alternators, transfer switches, mobile heaters, power washers, water pumps, energy monitoring devices and other components of outdoor power equipment for residential and commercial use. The company has a wide distribution network spanning independent residential dealers, industrial distributors and dealers, national and regional retailers, e-commerce partners, wholesalers, equipment rental companies, equipment distributors, and solar installers. It also boasts a direct sales channel to various individual customers.
Nine analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $1.28 to $9.96 per share. GNRC also boasts an average earnings surprise of 26.1%.
Analysts are expecting earnings to grow 53.9% for the current fiscal year, with revenue forecasted to rise 42.9%.
Additionally, GNRC has climbed higher over the past four weeks, gaining 17.5%. The S&P 500 is up 1.1% in comparison.
With a #1 (Strong Buy) ranking, positive trend in earnings estimate revisions, and strong market momentum, Generac Holdings should be on investors' shortlist.
If you want even more information on the Zacks Ranks, or one of our many other investing strategies, check out the Zacks Education home page.
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Generac Holdings Inc. (GNRC) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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