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Why Align Technology (ALGN) is a Top Growth Stock for the Long-Term

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It doesn't matter your age or experience: taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals for all investors. Luckily, Zacks Premium offers several different ways to do both.

The popular research service can help you become a smarter, more self-assured investor, giving you access to daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank, the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research reports, and Premium stock screens.

Zacks Premium also includes the Zacks Style Scores.

What are the Zacks Style Scores?

The Zacks Style Scores is a unique set of guidelines that rates stocks based on three popular investing types, and were developed as complementary indicators for the Zacks Rank. This combination helps investors choose securities with the highest chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.

Each stock is given an alphabetic rating of A, B, C, D or F based on their value, growth, and momentum qualities. With this system, an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on, meaning the better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform.

The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:

Value Score

Finding good stocks at good prices, and discovering which companies are trading under their true value, are what value investors like to focus on. So, the Value Style Score takes into account ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and a host of other multiples to highlight the most attractive and discounted stocks.

Growth Score

Growth investors are more concerned with a stock's future prospects, and the overall financial health and strength of a company. Thus, the Growth Style Score analyzes characteristics like projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow to find stocks that will see sustainable growth over time.

Momentum Score

Momentum investors, who live by the saying "the trend is your friend," are most interested in taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Utilizing one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, among other factors, the Momentum Style Score can help determine favorable times to buy high-momentum stocks.

VGM Score

If you like to use all three kinds of investing, then the VGM Score is for you. It's a combination of all Style Scores, and is an important indicator to use with the Zacks Rank. The VGM Score rates each stock on their shared weighted styles, narrowing down the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum.

How Style Scores Work with the Zacks Rank

The Zacks Rank, which is a proprietary stock-rating model, employs earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings expectations, to make building a winning portfolio easier.

It's highly successful, with #1 (Strong Buy) stocks producing an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988. That's more than double the S&P 500. But because of the large number of stocks we rate, there are over 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, plus another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.

With more than 800 top-rated stocks to choose from, it can certainly feel overwhelming to pick the ones that are right for you and your investing journey.

That's where the Style Scores come in.

You want to make sure you're buying stocks with the highest likelihood of success, and to do that, you'll need to pick stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you like a stock that only as a #3 (Hold) rank, it should also have Scores of A or B to guarantee as much upside potential as possible.

The direction of a stock's earnings estimate revisions should always be a key factor when choosing which stocks to buy, since the Scores were created to work together with the Zacks Rank.

Here's an example: a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one with Style Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings outlook, and a bigger chance its share price will decrease too.

Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.

Stock to Watch: Align Technology (ALGN)

Align Technology, based in California, manufactures and markets a system of clear aligner therapy, intra-oral scanners and CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) digital services used in dentistry, orthodontics, and dental records storage. The clear aligner system corrects malocclusion using nearly invisible and removable appliances that gently move the tooth to a desired final position.

ALGN is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of B.

Additionally, the company could be a top pick for growth investors. ALGN has a Growth Style Score of A, forecasting year-over-year earnings growth of 109.3% for the current fiscal year.

Six analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.46 to $10.99 per share. ALGN also boasts an average earnings surprise of 87.3%.

With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Growth and VGM Style Scores, ALGN should be on investors' short list.


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