Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.
While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.
Below, we take a look at Wex (WEX), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of A. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.
It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Wex currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.
You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>
Set to Beat the Market?
In order to see if WEX is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this provider of fuel payment processing for fleet vehicles holds up.
A good momentum benchmark for a stock is to look at its short-term price activity, as this can reflect both current interest and if buyers or sellers currently have the upper hand. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.
For WEX, shares are up 3.04% over the past week while the Zacks Financial Transaction Services industry is up 1.03% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 12.51% compares favorably with the industry's 5.94% performance as well.
Considering longer term price metrics, like performance over the last three months or year, can be advantageous as well. Shares of Wex have increased 28.08% over the past quarter, and have gained 26.62% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 12.64% and 11.26%, respectively.
Investors should also pay attention to WEX's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. WEX is currently averaging 336,665 shares for the last 20 days.
The Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with WEX.
Over the past two months, 6 earnings estimates moved higher compared to 1 lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost WEX's consensus estimate, increasing from $8.96 to $9.04 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 6 estimates have moved upwards while there have been 1 downward revision in the same time period.
Given these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that WEX is a #2 (Buy) stock and boasts a Momentum Score of A. If you're looking for a fresh pick that's set to soar in the near-term, make sure to keep Wex on your short list.
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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.