Here's Why HCA Healthcare (HCA) is a Strong Growth Stock

For new and old investors, taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals. Zacks Premium provides lots of different ways to do both.

Featuring daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank, full access to the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research reports, and Premium stock screens, the research service can help you become a smarter, more self-assured investor.

Zacks Premium also includes the Zacks Style Scores.

What are the Zacks Style Scores?

The Zacks Style Scores is a unique set of guidelines that rates stocks based on three popular investing types, and were developed as complementary indicators for the Zacks Rank. This combination helps investors choose securities with the highest chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.

Each stock is given an alphabetic rating of A, B, C, D or F based on their value, growth, and momentum qualities. With this system, an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on, meaning the better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform.

The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:

Value Score

For value investors, it's all about finding good stocks at good prices, and discovering which companies are trading under their true value before the broader market catches on. The Value Style Score utilizes ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and a host of other multiples to help pick out the most attractive and discounted stocks.

Growth Score

While good value is important, growth investors are more focused on a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score takes projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow into account to uncover stocks that will see long-term, sustainable growth.

Momentum Score

Momentum traders and investors live by the saying "the trend is your friend." This investing style is all about taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Employing factors like one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, the Momentum Style Score can indicate favorable times to build a position in high-momentum stocks.

VGM Score

What if you like to use all three types of investing? The VGM Score is a combination of all Style Scores, making it one of the most comprehensive indicators to use with the Zacks Rank. It rates each stock on their combined weighted styles, which helps narrow down the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum.

How Style Scores Work with the Zacks Rank

A proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank utilizes the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings outlook, to help investors create a successful portfolio.

#1 (Strong Buy) stocks have produced an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988, which is more than double the S&P 500's performance over the same time frame. However, the Zacks Rank examines a ton of stocks, and there can be more than 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, and another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.

With more than 800 top-rated stocks to choose from, it can certainly feel overwhelming to pick the ones that are right for you and your investing journey.

That's where the Style Scores come in.

You want to make sure you're buying stocks with the highest likelihood of success, and to do that, you'll need to pick stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you like a stock that only as a #3 (Hold) rank, it should also have Scores of A or B to guarantee as much upside potential as possible.

The direction of a stock's earnings estimate revisions should always be a key factor when choosing which stocks to buy, since the Scores were created to work together with the Zacks Rank.

Here's an example: a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one with Style Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings outlook, and a bigger chance its share price will decrease too.

Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.

Stock to Watch: HCA Healthcare (HCA)

HCA Healthcare is the largest non-governmental operator of acute care hospitals in the United States. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, it operates hospitals and related health care entities. At the end of 2023, the company operated 186 hospitals and approximately 2,400 ambulatory sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding emergency rooms, urgent care centers and physician clinics, in 20 states and the United Kingdom.

HCA is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.

Additionally, the company could be a top pick for growth investors. HCA has a Growth Style Score of A, forecasting year-over-year earnings growth of 9.4% for the current fiscal year.

Six analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2024, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.30 to $20.79 per share. HCA also boasts an average earnings surprise of 5.6%.

With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Growth and VGM Style Scores, HCA should be on investors' short list.

Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double"

From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all.

It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time.

This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.

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HCA Healthcare, Inc. (HCA) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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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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