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Why Investors Need to Take Advantage of the Zacks ESP Screener

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Zacks Equity Research
·3 min read
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Wall Street watches a company's quarterly report closely to understand as much as possible about its recent performance and what to expect going forward. Of course, one figure often stands out among the rest: earnings.

We know earnings results are vital, but how a company performs compared to bottom line expectations can be even more important when it comes to stock prices, especially in the near-term. This means that investors might want to take advantage of these earnings surprises.

The ability to identify stocks that are likely to top quarterly earnings expectations can be profitable, but it's no simple task. Here at Zacks, our Earnings ESP filter helps make things easier.

The Zacks Earnings ESP, Explained

The Zacks Earnings ESP is more formally known as the Expected Surprise Prediction, and it aims to grab the inside track on the latest analyst estimate revisions ahead of a company's report. The idea is relatively intuitive as a newer projection might be based on more complete information.

Now that we understand the basic idea, let's look at how the Expected Surprise Prediction works. The ESP is calculated by comparing the Most Accurate Estimate to the Zacks Consensus Estimate, with the percentage difference between the two giving us the Zacks ESP figure.

Bringing together a positive earnings ESP alongside a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better has helped stocks report a positive earnings surprise 70% of the time. Furthermore, by using these parameters, investors have seen 28.3% annual returns on average, according to our 10 year backtest.

Stocks with a #3 (Hold) ranking, which is most stocks covered at 60%, are expected to perform in-line with the broader market. But stocks that fall into the #2 (Buy) and #1 (Strong Buy) ranking, or the top 15% and top 5% of stocks, respectively, should outperform the market. Strong Buy stocks should outperform more than any other rank.

Should You Consider Ally Financial?

The final step today is to look at a stock that meets our ESP qualifications. Ally Financial (ALLY) earns a #1 (Strong Buy) two days from its next quarterly earnings release on April 16, 2021, and its Most Accurate Estimate comes in at $1.22 a share.

By taking the percentage difference between the $1.22 Most Accurate Estimate and the $1.13 Zacks Consensus Estimate, Ally Financial has an Earnings ESP of 7.43%. Investors should also know that ALLY is just one of a large group of stocks with positive ESPs. All of these qualifying stocks can be filtered by ESP, Zacks Rank, % Surprise (Last Qtr.), and Reporting date.

Now that you know how to use the Zacks Earnings ESP to your advantage, make sure to check out the Earnings ESP Home Page for even more earnings related strategies to create a winning portfolio.

Find Stocks to Buy or Sell Before They're Reported

Use the Zacks Earnings ESP Filter to turn up stocks with the highest probability of positively, or negatively, surprising to buy or sell before they're reported for profitable earnings season trading. Check it out here >>


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Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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