Here's Why HCA Healthcare (HCA) is a Strong Momentum 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.

It also includes access to 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

Value investors love finding good stocks at good prices, especially before the broader market catches on to a stock's true value. Utilizing ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and many other multiples, the Value Style Score identifies the most attractive and most discounted stocks.

Growth Score

Growth investors, on the other hand, are more concerned with a company's financial strength and health, and its future outlook. The Growth Style Score examines things like projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow to find stocks that will experience sustainable growth over time.

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

The Zacks Rank is a proprietary stock-rating model that harnesses the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings expectations, to help investors build a successful portfolio.

It's highly successful, with #1 (Strong Buy) stocks producing an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988. That's more than double the S&P 500. But because of the large number of stocks we rate, there are over 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, plus 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.

To maximize your returns, you want to buy stocks with the highest probability of success. This means picking stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you find yourself looking at stocks with a #3 (Hold) rank, make sure they have Scores of A or B as well to ensure as much upside potential as possible.

As mentioned above, the Scores are designed to work with the Zacks Rank, so any change to a company's earnings outlook should be a deciding factor when picking which stocks to buy.

A stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, for instance, even one with Scores of A and B, will still have a declining earnings forecast, and a greater chance its share price will fall 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)

Effective May 8, 2017, the company’s name was changed to HCA Healthcare, Inc. from HCA Holdings, Inc. It is the largest non-governmental operator of acute care hospitals in the US. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, it operates hospitals and related health care entities.

HCA is a #1 (Strong Buy) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.

Momentum investors should take note of this Medical stock. HCA has a Momentum Style Score of B, and shares are up 6.9% over the past four weeks.

10 analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2024. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.95 to $20.49 per share. HCA boasts an average earnings surprise of 9.8%.

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

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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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