Investors seek growth stocks to capitalize on above-average growth in financials that help these securities grab the market's attention and produce exceptional returns. However, it isn't easy to find a great growth stock.
By their very nature, these stocks carry above-average risk and volatility. Moreover, if a company's growth story is over or nearing its end, betting on it could lead to significant loss.
However, the task of finding cutting-edge growth stocks is made easy with the help of the Zacks Growth Style Score (part of the Zacks Style Scores system), which looks beyond the traditional growth attributes to analyze a company's real growth prospects.
Our proprietary system currently recommends Eli Lilly (LLY) as one such stock. This company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank.
Studies have shown that stocks with the best growth features consistently outperform the market. And returns are even better for stocks that possess the combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).
While there are numerous reasons why the stock of this drugmaker is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:
Arguably nothing is more important than earnings growth, as surging profit levels is what most investors are after. And for growth investors, double-digi t earnings growth is definitely preferable, and often an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.
While the historical EPS growth rate for Lilly is 9.1%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 5.2% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 5.1%.
Impressive Asset Utilization Ratio
Asset utilization ratio -- also known as sales-to-total-assets (S/TA) ratio -- is often overlooked by investors, but it is an important indicator in growth investing. This metric exhibits how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.
Right now, Lilly has an S/TA ratio of 0.55, which means that the company gets $0.55 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 0.49, it can be said that the company is more efficient.
In addition to efficiency in generating sales, sales growth plays an important role. And Lilly is well positioned from a sales growth perspective too. The company's sales are expected to grow 4.4% this year versus the industry average of 3.2%.
Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions
Beyond the metrics outlined above, investors should consider the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is a plus here. Empirical research shows that there is a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.
There have been upward revisions in current-year earnings estimates for Lilly. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 1.3% over the past month.
While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Lilly a Zacks Rank #2 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of A based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above.
This combination positions Lilly well for outperformance, so growth investors may want to bet on it.