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.
Also included in Zacks Premium is the Focus List. This is a long-term portfolio of top stocks that have all the traits 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?
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 are expectations of growth and profitability, and are determined by brokerage analysts. Together with company management, these analysts examine 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.
The stocks that receive positive changes to earnings estimates are more likely to receive even more upward changes in the future. Take this example: if an analyst raised their estimates 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: American Express (AXP)
Founded in 1850, NY-based American Express Company is a diversified financial services company, offering charge and credit payment card products, and travel-related services worldwide. American Express and its main subsidiary – American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. (“TRS”) – are bank holding companies under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956. The company offers business travel-related services through its non-consolidated joint venture, American Express Global Business Travel (the GBT JV).
On December 23, 2021, AXP was added to the Focus List at $162.47 per share. Shares have increased 7.39% to $173.29 since then, and the company is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank.
Seven analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.09 to $9.47. AXP boasts an average earnings surprise of 35.4%.
Moreover, analysts are expecting AXP’s earnings to grow 77.3% for the current fiscal year.
Reveal Winning Stocks
Unlock all of our powerful research, tools and analysis, including the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research Reports, Zacks Earnings ESP Filter, Premium Screener and more, as part of Zacks Premium. You’ll quickly identify which stocks to buy, hold and sell, and target today’s hottest industries, to help improve the performance of your portfolio. Gain full access now >>
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