Beat the Market the Zacks Way: EverQuote, Micron, Amgen in Focus

The three most widely followed indexes closed out a mixed week last Friday. The Nasdaq Composite advanced for the fifth straight week, rising 1.4%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a five-week rally by declining 2.3%. The S&P 500 ended the week virtually unchanged, gaining less than 0.1%.

The week was broadly characterized by fading investor optimism about the Fed announcing a rate cut anytime soon. FOMC minutes showed that, in fact, multiple Fed officials were in agreement that the central bank might have to opt for rate hikes if inflation did not come under control. Consumer outlook on inflation showed improvement toward the end of the week, giving the markets some breathing space.

Currently, it seems unlikely that there will be two 25 bps rate cuts in 2024, but the Fed will continue to monitor inflation numbers over the coming months to arrive at a decision.

Regardless of market conditions, we, here at Zacks, provide investors with unbiased guidance on how to beat the market. 

As usual, Zacks Research guided investors over the past three months with its time-tested methodologies. Given the prevailing market uncertainty, you may want to look at our feats to prepare better for your next action.

Here are some of our key achievements:

EverQuote and Ayr Wellness Surge Following Zacks Rank Upgrade

Shares of EverQuote, Inc. EVER have gained 37.1% (versus the S&P 500’s 4.2% increase) since it was upgraded to a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) on March 18.

Another stock, Ayr Wellness Inc. AYRWF, was also upgraded to a Zacks Rank #2 on March 18 and has returned 12.3% since then.

Zacks Rank, our short-term rating system, has earnings estimate revisions at its core. Empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements. 

A hypothetical portfolio of Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks returned +20.63% in the year-to-date period through April 1st, 2024, vs. +11.3% for the S&P 500 index and +7.7% for the equal-weight S&P 500 index. This hypothetical portfolio returned +20.63% in 2023 vs. +24.83% for the S&P 500 index and +15% for the equal-weight S&P 500 index. The portfolio of Zacks Rank #1 stocks is an equal-weight portfolio, while the S&P 500 index is a market-cap-weighted index that has been notably distorted by the concentrated performance of mega-cap stocks since October 2022.

The Zacks Model Portfolio - consisting of Zacks Rank #1 stocks – has outperformed the S&P index by more than 16 percentage points since 1988 (Through April 1st, 2024, the Zacks # 1 Rank stocks generated an annualized return of +27.6% since 1988 vs. +11.1% for the S&P 500 index).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 stocks here >>>

Check EverQuote’s historical EPS and Sales here>>>

Check Ayr Wellness’ historical EPS and Sales here>>>

Zacks Investment Research
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Zacks Recommendation Upgrades Kaiser Aluminum and Palomar Higher 

Shares of Kaiser Aluminum Corporation KALU and Palomar Holdings, Inc. PLMR have advanced 27.9% (versus the S&P 500’s 4.6% rise) and 11.5% (versus the S&P 500’s 4.7% rise) since their Zacks Recommendation was upgraded to Outperform on March 11 and March 12, respectively.

While the Zacks Rank is our short-term rating system that is most effective over the one- to three-month holding horizon, the Zacks Recommendation aims to predict performance over the next 6 to 12 months. However, just like the Zacks Rank, the foundation for the Zacks Recommendation is trends in earnings estimate revisions.

The Zacks Recommendation classifies stocks into three groups — Outperform, Neutral and Underperform. While these recommendations are determined quantitatively, our analysts have the flexibility to override them for the 1100+ stocks they closely follow based on their better judgment of factors such as valuation, industry conditions and management effectiveness than the quantitative model.

To access our research reports with Zacks Recommendations for the 1100+ stocks we cover, click here>>>

Zacks Focus List Stocks Sea Limited, Micron Shoot Up

Shares of Sea Limited SE, which belongs to the Zacks Focus List, have gained 33.5% over the past 12 weeks. The stock was added to the Focus List on March 26, 2020. Another Focus-List holding, Micron Technology, Inc. MU, which was added to the portfolio on December 27, 2016, has returned 35.2% over the past 12 weeks. The S&P 500 has advanced 3.4% over this period. 

The Focus List portfolio returned +10.23% in 2024 Q1 vs. +10.56% for the S&P 500 index and +7.9% for the equal-weight S&P 500 index.

The 50-stock Zacks Focus List model portfolio returned +31.44% in 2023 vs. +26.28% for the S&P 500 index and +13.61% for the equal-weight S&P 500 index. In 2022, the portfolio produced -15.2% vs. the S&P 500 index’s -17.96%.

Since 2004, the Focus List portfolio has produced an annualized return of +11.91% (through March 31st, 2024). This compares to a +10.25% annualized return for the S&P 500 index in the same time period.

Unlock all of our powerful research, tools and analysis, including the Focus List, Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research Reports, Zacks Earnings ESP Filter, Premium Screener and more, as part of Zacks Premium. Gain full access now >>

Zacks ECAP Stocks Mettler-Toledo and Novo Nordisk Make Significant Gains

Mettler-Toledo International Inc. MTD, a component of our Earnings Certain Admiral Portfolio (ECAP), has jumped 15% over the past 12 weeks. Novo Nordisk A/S NVO has followed Mettler-Toledo with 6.3% returns.

The Zacks Earnings Certain Admiral Portfolio (ECAP), which consists of 30 concentrated, ultra-defensive, long-term Buy-and-Hold stocks, returned +9.08% in the year-to-date period (through March 31st, 2024) vs. +10.42%. In 2023, the portfolio returned +12.17% vs. +26.28% for the S&P 500 index. The portfolio returned -4.7% in 2022 vs. the S&P 500 index’s -17.96%.

With little to no turnover and annual rebalance periodicity, the ECAP seeks to minimize capital loss by holding shares of companies whose earnings streams exhibit a proven 20+ year track record of surviving recessionary periods with minimal impact on aggregate earnings growth relative to the overall S&P 500.

The ECAP and many other model portfolios are available as part of Zacks Advisor Tools, a cloud-based solution to access Zacks award-winning stock, mutual fund and ETF research. Click here to schedule a demo.

Zacks ECDP Stocks Tractor Supply and Amgen Outshine Peers

Tractor Supply Company TSCO, which is part of our Earnings Certain Dividend Portfolio (ECDP), has returned 11.4% over the past 12 weeks. Another ECDP stock, Amgen Inc. AMGN, has climbed 9.5% over the same time frame. Of course, the inclination of investors toward quality dividend stocks to secure an income stream amid heightened market volatility contributed to this performance.

Check Tractor Supply’s dividend history here>>>

Check Amgen’s dividend history here>>>

With an extremely low Beta and a history of minimum earnings variability over the last 20+ years, this 25-stock portfolio helps significantly mitigate risk.

The Zacks Earnings Certain Dividend Portfolio (ECDP) returned +4.47% in the year-to-date period (through March 31st, 2024) vs. +10.42% for the S&P 500 index (IVV) and +6.9% for the Dividend Aristocrats ETF (NOBL).

The portfolio returned -0.9% in 2023 vs. +26.28% for the S&P 500 index and +8.11% for NOBL. The portfolio returned -2.3% in 2022 vs. -17.96% for the S&P 500 index and -8.34% for NOBL.

Click here to access this portfolio on Zacks Advisor Tools

Zacks Top 10 Stocks — Badger Meter Delivers Solid Returns

Badger Meter, Inc. BMI, from the Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2024, has jumped 30% year to date compared with a 11.4% increase for the S&P 500 Index.

The Top 10 portfolio returned +19.56% in 2024 Q1 vs. +10.56% for the S&P 500 index and +7.9% for the equal-weight version of the index.

The Top 10 portfolio returned +25.15% in 2023 vs. +26.28% for the S&P 500 index. Since 2012, the Top 10 portfolio has produced a cumulative return of +1,060.9% through the end of 2023 vs. +360.1% for the S&P 500 index.

Since 2012, the Zacks Top 10 portfolio has produced an annualized return of +25.02% through the end of 2024 Q1 vs. +14.1% for the S&P 500 index and +12.7% for the equal-weight version of the index. The portfolio has produced a cumulative return of +1,442.3% vs. +403.03% for the S&P 500 index and +331.29% for the equal-weight index.

Where Will Stocks Go…

If Biden Wins? If Trump Wins?

The answers may surprise you.

Since 1950, even after negative midterm years, the market has never had a lower presidential election year. With voters energized and engaged, the market has been almost unrelentingly bullish no matter which party wins!

Now is the time to download Zacks' free Special Report with 5 stocks that offer extreme upside for both Democrats and Republicans…

1. Medical manufacturer has gained +11,000% in the last 15 years.

2. Rental company is absolutely crushing its sector.

3. Energy powerhouse plans to grow its already large dividend by 25%.

4. Aerospace and defense standout just landed a potentially $80 billion contract.

5. Giant Chipmaker is building huge plants in the U.S. 

Hurry, Download Special Report FREE >>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

Novo Nordisk A/S (NVO) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Amgen Inc. (AMGN) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Badger Meter, Inc. (BMI) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Micron Technology, Inc. (MU) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Tractor Supply Company (TSCO) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Sea Limited Sponsored ADR (SE) : Free Stock Analysis Report

EverQuote, Inc. (EVER) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Kaiser Aluminum Corporation (KALU) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. (MTD) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Palomar Holdings, Inc. (PLMR) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Ayr Wellness Inc. (AYRWF) : Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Zacks Investment Research

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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