A prudent investment decision involves buying well-performing stocks at the right time while selling those that are at risk. A rise in share price and strong fundamentals signal a stock's bullish run.
CRA International, Inc. CRAI is a consulting services stock that has performed well so far this year and has the potential to sustain the momentum in the near term. Consequently, if you haven't taken advantage of its share price appreciation yet, it's time you add the stock to your portfolio.
What Makes it an Attractive Pick?
An Outperformer: A glimpse at the company's price trend reveals that the stock has had an impressive run on the bourse on a year-to-date basis. Shares of CRA International have returned 26.3% on a year-to-date basis, outperforming the 14.9% rise of the industry it belongs to.
Solid Rank & VGM Score: CRA International currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and has a Value Growth Momentum Score ( VGM Score ) of A. Our research shows that stocks with a VGM Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 (Buy) offer the best investment opportunities for investors. Thus, the company appears to be a compelling investment proposition at the moment.
You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .
Northward Estimate Revisions: The direction of estimate revisions serves as an important pointer when it comes to the price of a stock. Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 and 2019 moved up 4.6% and 5.2%, respectively.
Positive Earnings Surprise History: CRA International has an impressive earning surprise history. The company's earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the previous four quarters, delivering an average positive earnings surprise of 38.6%.
Strong Growth Prospects: The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current quarter earnings is pegged at 52 cents, indicating year-over-year growth of 26.8%. Moreover, earnings are expected to register 19.4% and 6.6% growth, respectively, in 2018 and 2019.
Driving Factors: CRA International's global presence provides it the opportunity to work with world's leading professionals and helps it enhance its knowledge base and areas of functional expertise. The company has a vast global network of coordinated offices spread across North America and Europe. Its international operations are contributing to top-line growth. In the second quarter of 2018, CRA International earned 19% of total revenues from its businesses outside the United States.
A diversified business model with proficiency in multiple industries helps CRA International meet varying client needs and offer innovative services. This multidisciplinary set up enables the company to bring experts from all fields under one platform. The diversification in business also reduces CRA International's dependence on any specific market, industry or geographic area. It increases the company's ability to adapt to any changing conditions.
We are also impressed with CRA International's endeavors in rewarding its shareholders through dividend payments and share repurchases. In the second quarter of 2018, CRA International returned $13.5 million to its shareholders, which includes $1.4 million of dividend payments and $12.1 million through share repurchase.
In 2017, CRA International returned $24.6 million to its shareholders through dividend payment of $5.1 million and share repurchases worth $19.5 million. Such moves indicate the company's commitment to create value for shareholders and underline its confidence in its business.
Other Stocks to Consider
Some other top-ranked stocks in the broader Business Services sector include FTI Consulting FCN , NV5 Global NVEE and Information Services Group III . While FTI Consulting holds a Zacks Rank #1, NV5 Global and Information Services Group carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
FTI Consulting, NV5 Global and Information Services Group have delivered an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 58.3%, 12.7% and 5.5%, respectively.
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