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Why This 1 Medical Stock Could Be a Great Addition to Your Portfolio

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  • UNH

Here at Zacks, we offer our members many different opportunities to take full advantage of the stock market, as well as how to invest in ways that lead to long-term success.

The Zacks Premium service, which provides daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank; full access to the Zacks #1 Rank List; Equity Research reports; and Premium stock screens like the Earnings ESP filter, makes these more manageable goals. All of the features can help you identify what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today's hottest industries.

The service also includes the Focus List, which is a long-term portfolio of top stocks that boast a winning, market-beating combination of growth and momentum qualities.

Breaking Down the Zacks Focus List

If you could, wouldn't you jump at the chance for access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investing journey?

Enter the Zacks Focus List. It's a portfolio made up of 50 stocks that are set to beat the market over the next 12 months; each company selected serves as a foundation for long-term investors looking to create an individual portfolio.

Additionally, each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, something that makes the Focus List even more valuable. The report explains in detail why each stock was picked and why we believe it's good for the long-term.

The portfolio's past performance only solidifies why investors should consider it as a starting point. For 2020, the Focus List gained 13.85% on an annualized basis compared to the S&P 500's return of 9.38%. Cumulatively, the portfolio has returned 2,519.23% while the S&P returned 854.95%. Returns are for the period of February 1, 1996 to March 31, 2021.

Focus List Methodology

When stocks are picked for the Focus List, it reflects our enduring reliance on the power of earnings estimate revisions.

Earnings estimates, or expectations of growth and profitability, come from brokerage analysts who track publicly traded companies; these analysts work together with company management to analyze every aspect that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.

What a company will earn down the road also needs to be taken into consideration, and this is why earnings estimate revisions are so important.

When a stock receives upward earnings estimate revisions, it will likely get even more positive changes in the future. For instance, if an analyst raised their earnings outlook last month, they'll probably do so again this month, and other analysts will follow.

Utilizing the power of earnings estimate revisions is when the Zacks Rank joins the party. A unique, proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank uses changes to quarterly earnings expectations to help investors create a winning portfolio.

There are four main factors behind the Zacks Rank: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each one of these features is then given a raw score that's recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank. Using this data, stocks are classified into five groups, ranging from "Strong Buy" to "Strong Sell."

The Focus List is comprised of stocks hand-picked from a long list of #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) ranked companies, meaning that each new addition boasts a bullish earnings consensus among analysts.

Because stock prices react to revisions, buying stocks with rising earnings estimates can be very profitable. Focus List stocks offer investors a great opportunity to get into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.

Focus List Spotlight: UnitedHealth Group (UNH)

UnitedHealth Group, Inc. provides a wide range of health care products and services, such as health maintenance organizations (HMOs), point of service plans (POS), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and managed fee-for-service programs.

UNH, a #3 (Hold) stock, was added to the Focus List on June 22, 2015 at $120.33 per share. Since then, shares have increased 284.46% to $462.62.

Nine analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.10 to $18.84. UNH also boasts an average earnings surprise of 8.7%.

Additionally, UNH's earnings are expected to grow 11.6% for the current fiscal year.

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