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Here is Why Growth Investors Should Buy Armada Hoffler Properties (AHH) Now

Zacks Equity Research
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Growth stocks are attractive to many investors, as above-average financial growth helps these stocks easily grab the market's attention and produce exceptional returns. But finding a growth stock that can live up to its true potential can be a tough task.

In addition to volatility, these stocks carry above-average risk by their very nature. Also, one could end up losing from a stock whose growth story is actually over or nearing its end.

However, the task of finding cutting-edge growth stocks is made easy with the help of the Zacks Growth Style Score (part of the Zacks Style Scores system), which looks beyond the traditional growth attributes to analyze a company's real growth prospects.

Our proprietary system currently recommends Armada Hoffler Properties (AHH) as one such stock. This company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank.

Studies have shown that stocks with the best growth features consistently outperform the market. And returns are even better for stocks that possess the combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).

While there are numerous reasons why the stock of this real estate company is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:

Earnings Growth

Earnings growth is arguably the most important factor, as stocks exhibiting exceptionally surging profit levels tend to attract the attention of most investors. And for growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is definitely preferable, and often an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.

While the historical EPS growth rate for Armada Hoffler Properties is 4.7%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 12.3% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 4.4%.

Impressive Asset Utilization Ratio

Asset utilization ratio -- also known as sales-to-total-assets (S/TA) ratio -- is often overlooked by investors, but it is an important indicator in growth investing. This metric exhibits how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.

Right now, Armada Hoffler Properties has an S/TA ratio of 0.15, which means that the company gets $0.15 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 0.13, it can be said that the company is more efficient.

In addition to efficiency in generating sales, sales growth plays an important role. And Armada Hoffler Properties looks attractive from a sales growth perspective as well. The company's sales are expected to grow 19% this year versus the industry average of 5.7%.

Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions

Superiority of a stock in terms of the metrics outlined above can be further validated by looking at the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is of course favorable here. Empirical research shows that there is a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.

The current-year earnings estimates for Armada Hoffler Properties have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 0.9% over the past month.

Bottom Line

While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Armada Hoffler Properties a Zacks Rank #2 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of B based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above.

You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

This combination indicates that Armada Hoffler Properties is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.


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