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.
The research service features 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, all of which will help you become a smarter, more confident investor.
Zacks Premium includes access to the Zacks Style Scores as well.
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 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 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 trading is all about taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook, and these investors live by the saying "the trend is your friend." The Momentum Style Score can pinpoint good times to build a position in a stock, using factors like one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates.
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, 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.
Investors can count on the Zacks Rank's success, with #1 (Strong Buy) stocks producing an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988, more than double the S&P 500's performance. But the model rates a large number of stocks, and there are over 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, plus another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.
But it can feel overwhelming to pick the right stocks for you and your investing goals with over 800 top-rated stocks to choose from.
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.
Since the Scores were created to work together with the Zacks Rank, the direction of a stock's earnings estimate revisions should be a key factor when choosing which stocks to buy.
For instance, a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one that boasts Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings forecast, and a much greater likelihood its share price will decline as well.
Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.
Stock to Watch: Microsoft (MSFT)
Microsoft Corporation is one of the largest broad-based technology providers in the world. The company dominates the PC software market with more than 73% of the market share for desktop operating systems.
MSFT is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of B.
Additionally, the company could be a top pick for growth investors. MSFT has a Growth Style Score of A, forecasting year-over-year earnings growth of 13.5% for the current fiscal year.
For fiscal 2024, 17 analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.23 to $11.13 per share. MSFT boasts an average earnings surprise of 7.8%.
With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Growth and VGM Style Scores, MSFT should be on investors' short list.
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