Why Leidos (LDOS) is a Top Growth Stock for the Long-Term

Taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals for new and old investors, and Zacks Premium offers many 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?

Developed alongside the Zacks Rank, the Zacks Style Scores are a group of complementary indicators that help investors pick stocks with the best 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 are more concerned with a stock's future prospects, and the overall financial health and strength of a company. Thus, the Growth Style Score analyzes characteristics like projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow to find stocks that will see sustainable growth over time.

Momentum Score

Momentum investors, who live by the saying "the trend is your friend," are most interested in taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Utilizing one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, among other factors, the Momentum Style Score can help determine favorable times to buy high-momentum stocks.

VGM Score

If you like to use all three kinds of investing, then the VGM Score is for you. It's a combination of all Style Scores, and is an important indicator to use with the Zacks Rank. The VGM Score rates each stock on their shared weighted styles, narrowing 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, which is a proprietary stock-rating model, employs earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings expectations, to make building a winning portfolio easier.

#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.

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: Leidos (LDOS)

Founded in 1969, Delaware-based Leidos Holdings, Inc. is a global science and technology leader that serves the defense, intelligence, civil and health markets. Its core capabilities include providing solutions in the fields of cybersecurity; data analytics; enterprise IT modernization; operations and logistics; sensors, collection and phenomenology; software development; and systems engineering. Outside the United States, the company’s international customers include foreign governments and their agencies, primarily located in the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Australia.

LDOS is a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.

Additionally, the company could be a top pick for growth investors. LDOS has a Growth Style Score of B, forecasting year-over-year earnings growth of 6.2% for the current fiscal year.

Seven analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2024. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.21 to $7.75 per share. LDOS boasts an average earnings surprise of 11.9%.

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

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