The U.S. equity markets witnessed a spectacular rally yesterday, buoyed by the Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates steady in the 5.25% to 5.5% range while pledging to cut the same several times next year. The much-anticipated acknowledgment of a decelerating inflation trend lifted the leading benchmark indices to 52-week highs and propelled them to record tallies.
While the S&P crossed 4,700 for the first time since January 2022, the Dow closed above the 37,000 mark — exceeding a previous record set in the same month. This buoyed the ongoing Santa Claus rally that was fueled by solid jobs and consumer price index data. The November non-farm payrolls report showed that the jobless rate fell to 3.7% from 3.9% in the prior month. The economy also added 199,000 jobs compared with 150,000 job additions in October, signifying economic strength.
The consumer price index was up 3.1% in November on a year-over-year basis and 0.1% month over month. The latest GDP data also revealed that the economy grew in the third quarter at a stronger-than-forecast annual rate of 5.2%.
As investors employ a wait-and-see approach in a classic example of “backing and filling” in the market, they can benefit from “cash cow” stocks that garner higher returns. However, identifying cash-rich stocks alone does not make for a solid investment proposition unless it is backed by attractive efficiency ratios like return on equity (ROE). A high ROE ensures that the company is reinvesting cash at a high rate of return. NRG Energy, Inc. NRG, Thomson Reuters Corporation TRI, Suzano S.A. SUZ, Cboe Global Markets, Inc. CBOE and Arch Capital Group Ltd. ACGL are some of the stocks with high ROE to profit from.
ROE: A Key Metric
ROE = Net Income/Shareholders’ Equity
ROE helps investors distinguish profit-generating companies from profit burners and is useful in determining the financial health of a company. In other words, this financial metric enables investors to identify companies that diligently deploy cash for higher returns.
Moreover, ROE is often used to compare the profitability of a company with other firms in the industry — the higher, the better. It measures how well a company is multiplying its profits without investing new equity capital and portrays management’s efficiency in rewarding shareholders with attractive risk-adjusted returns.
Parameters Used For Screening
In order to shortlist stocks that are cash-rich with high ROE, we have added Cash Flow greater than $1 billion and ROE greater than X-Industry as our primary screening parameters. In addition, we have taken a few other criteria into consideration to arrive at a winning strategy.
Price/Cash Flow lesser than X-Industry: This metric measures how much investors pay for $1 of free cash flow. A lower ratio indicates that investors need to pay less for a better cash flow-generating stock.
Return on Assets (ROA) greater than X-Industry: This metric determines how much profit a company earns for every dollar of asset, which includes cash, accounts receivable, property, equipment, inventory and furniture. The higher the ROA, the better it is for the company.
5-Year EPS Historical Growth greater than X-Industry: This criterion indicates that continued earnings momentum has translated into solid cash strength.
Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) stocks are known to outperform irrespective of the market environment.
Here are five of the 12 stocks that qualified the screening:
NRG Energy: Headquarters in Houston, TX, NRG Energy is engaged in the production, sale and delivery of energy and energy products and services to residential, industrial and commercial consumers in major competitive power markets in the United States. The company also provides system power, distributed generation, renewable products, backup generation, energy efficiency and advisory services, as well as carbon management and specialty services.
The stock delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 4.7%, on average. NRG Energy carries a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Thomson Reuters: Based in Toronto, Canada, Thomson Reuters serves professionals across legal, tax, accounting, compliance, government and media sectors. Its products combine highly specialized software and insights to empower professionals with the data, intelligence and solutions needed to make informed decisions with transparency.
Thomson Reuters has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 11.1% and delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 12.2%, on average. It carries a Zacks Rank #2.
Suzano: Headquartered in Salvador, Brazil, Suzano produces and sells eucalyptus pulp and paper products. With more than 90 years of experience, this vertically integrated firm is one of the largest producers of paper and graphic products in South America.
Suzano has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 6.9%. It has a VGM Score of B. It carries a Zacks Rank #2.
Cboe Global: Based in Chicago, IL, Cboe Global is one of the largest stock exchange operators by volume in the United States and a leading market globally for ETP trading. It offers trading across a diverse range of products in multiple asset classes and geographies, including options, futures, U.S. and European equities, ETPs, global foreign exchange and multi-asset volatility products based on the VIX Index.
The company has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 10.2% and delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 4.1%, on average. Cboe Global sports a Zacks Rank #1.
Arch Capital: Headquartered in Pembroke, Bermuda, Arch Capital offers insurance, reinsurance and mortgage insurance across the world. It provides a wide range of products and services, which include primary and excess casualty coverages, professional indemnity, workers’ compensation and umbrella liability and employers’ liability insurance coverages. The company offers a full range of property, casualty and mortgage insurance and reinsurance lines while maintaining a focus on writing specialty lines of insurance and reinsurance.
Arch Capital carries a Zacks Rank #2. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 10%. It delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 35.2%, on average. It has a VGM Score of A.
You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.
The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.
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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.
Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.
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