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Are You Looking for a Top Momentum Pick? Why Automatic Data Processing (ADP) is a Great Choice

Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.

Even though momentum is a popular stock characteristic, it can be tough to define. Debate surrounding which are the best and worst metrics to focus on is lengthy, but the Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.

Below, we take a look at Automatic Data Processing (ADP), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of B. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.

It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Automatic Data Processing currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.

You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>

Set to Beat the Market?

In order to see if ADP is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this payroll and human resources company holds up.

A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.

For ADP, shares are up 0.23% over the past week while the Zacks Outsourcing industry is up 0.98% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 4.16% compares favorably with the industry's 0.34% performance as well.

Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Shares of Automatic Data Processing have increased 6.83% over the past quarter, and have gained 50.88% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 5.48% and 38.4%, respectively.

Investors should also pay attention to ADP's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. ADP is currently averaging 1,357,179 shares for the last 20 days.

Earnings Outlook

The Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with ADP.

Over the past two months, 2 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost ADP's consensus estimate, increasing from $6.53 to $6.54 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 1 estimate has moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.

Bottom Line

Given these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that ADP is a #2 (Buy) stock and boasts a Momentum Score of B. If you're looking for a fresh pick that's set to soar in the near-term, make sure to keep Automatic Data Processing on your short list.


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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