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Earnings Growth & Price Strength Make Home Depot (HD) a Stock to Watch

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It also includes the Focus List, a long-term portfolio of top stocks that have all the elements to beat the market.

Breaking Down the Zacks Focus List

If you could, wouldn't you jump at the chance for access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investing journey?

That's what the Zacks Focus List, a portfolio of 50 stocks, offers investors. Not only does it serve as a starting point for long-term investors, but all stocks included in the list are poised to outperform the market over the next 12 months.

What makes the Focus List even more helpful is that each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, which explains the reasoning behind every stock's selection and why we believe it's a good pick 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.

Brokerage analysts are in charge of determining a company's growth and profitability expectations, or earnings estimates. These analysts work together with company management to evaluate all factors that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.

Earnings estimate revisions are very important, since investors also need to take into consideration what a company will earn in the future.

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.

Since stock prices respond to revisions, it can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates. By buying Focus List stocks, then, you're likely getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.

Focus List Spotlight: Home Depot (HD)

Based on net sales, The Home Depot Inc. is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer with 2,298 retail stores across the globe as of the end of second-quarter fiscal 2021. It offers a diverse range of branded and proprietary home improvement items, building materials, lawn and garden products, décor products and related services.

On October 15, 2015, HD was added to the Focus List at $120.27 per share. Shares have increased 209.57% to $372.32 since then, and the company is a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank.

One analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2022. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.04 to $14.50. HD boasts an average earnings surprise of 9.2%.

Moreover, analysts are expecting HD's earnings to grow 20.5% for the current fiscal year.

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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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