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.
One of our most popular services, Zacks Premium offers 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. All are useful tools to find what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today’s hottest industries.
It also includes the Focus List, a long-term portfolio of top stocks that have all the elements to beat the market.
Breaking Down the Zacks Focus List
If you could get access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investment portfolio, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to take a peek?
That’s what the Zacks Focus List offers. It’s a portfolio of 50 stocks that serve as a starting point for long-term investors to build their individual portfolios. The stocks included in the list are set to outperform the market over the next 12 months.
What makes the Focus List even more helpful is that each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, which explains the reasoning behind every stock’s selection and why we believe it’s a good pick 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.
Brokerage analysts are in charge of determining a company’s growth and profitability expectations, or earnings estimates. These analysts work together with company management to evaluate all factors that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.
Earnings estimate revisions are very important, since investors also need to take into consideration what a company will earn in the future.
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.
The Zacks Rank consists of four main pillars: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each one is given a raw score, which is recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank. Then, stocks are classified into five groups, ranging from “Strong Buy” to “Strong Sell,” using this data.
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.
Since stock prices respond to revisions, it can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates. By buying Focus List stocks, then, you’re likely getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.
Focus List Spotlight: Huntington Ingalls (HII)
Based in Newport News, VA, Huntington Ingalls Industries designs, builds and maintains nuclear-powered ships such as aircraft carriers and submarines, and non-nuclear ships, such as surface combatants, expeditionary warfare/amphibious assault and coastal defense surface ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and provides after-market services for military ships around the globe.
HII, a #2 (Buy) stock, was added to the Focus List on May 9, 2016 at $155.20 per share. Since then, shares have increased 35.84% to $213.01.
For fiscal 2021, two analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.44 to $13.44. HII boasts an average earnings surprise of 25.5%.
Earnings for HII are forecasted to see growth of 34.4% for the current fiscal year as well.
Another standout Focus List stock you could consider is Winnebago Industries Inc. WGO. Winnebago is a leading producer of RVs in the U.S., and has been manufacturing RVs for over 60 years.
WGO is a #2 (Buy)-ranked stock, and shares have gained over 224% since being added to the portfolio.
One analyst has raised their earnings outlook for the current fiscal year. Winnebago’s bottom line is now expected to rise about 208% year-over-year; the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased a penny to $7.95 per share. Additionally, WGO has an average earnings surprise of 50.1%.
Reveal Winning Stocks
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Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana
If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027.
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You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.