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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: CoreLogic, Navigant Consulting, CRA International, Accenture and Hackett Group

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - December 06, 2016 - Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include CoreLogic, Inc. (NYSE: CLGX - Free Report ), Navigant Consulting Inc. (NYSE: NCI - Free Report ), CRA International, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAI - Free Report ), Accenture Plc (NYSE: ACN - Free Report ) and Hackett Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HCKT - Free Report ).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

5 Stocks to Buy as Unemployment Hits 9-Year Low

In the latest sign that the labor market continues to strengthen, unemployment hit a record low in November. According to data released on Friday, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since Aug 2007 last month. The number of job additions continued to hover around the 180,000 mark experienced throughout the year.

In keeping with the yearly trend, professional and business services led gains. There is additional evidence to support the view that the sector is likely to experience strong gains in the near future. Picking stocks from this sector is definitely a prudent option at this point.

Job Additions on Track

The economy added 178,000 jobs in November, significantly higher than the revised figure of 142,000 for October. Job additions were in line with expectations even as the unemployment rate declined more than expected, from 4.9% to 4.6%. However, some areas of concern were highlighted by the report. For instance, average hourly earnings fell by 3 cents to $25.89.

However, the metric registered a 2.5% year-over-year increase. Also, revised data for October and September indicate that 2,000 less jobs were added than earlier estimated. But one must consider that slowing job gains are quite natural for an economy approaching full employment.

This is best indicated by U6, the most rigorous metric of unemployment in the U.S. economy, which declined to 9.3% last month. This measure takes into account individuals who are not searching for employment or those who are working part time since they cannot secure full time employment.

Professional and Business Services Lead Gains

At the forefront of jobs gains were healthcare and construction. These sectors added 28,000 and 19,000 jobs during November, respectively. However, leading the pack yet again was the professional and business services sector which added 63,000 jobs. Over the year, the sector has added 571,000 jobs.

This is another indication of the growing important of the services sector in the economy. Meanwhile, a recent report from market research firm Freedonia Group predicts that U.S. companies providing strategic consulting services will experience a 7.8% yearly increase in revenues up to 2020. The sector is expected to gain from an increase in business fixed investment and GDP which will boost the need for strategic inputs in order to help companies determine corporate strategy more effectively.

Our Choices

Even though the latest job report highlights a few areas of concern, its nature is largely reassuring. The economy is likely to steadily add jobs in the future, lending credence to the view that the recovery may soon pick up its pace.

Professional and business services have been the biggest gainer from recent employment trends. Adding stocks from this sector looks like a smart choice at this point. However, picking winning stocks may be difficult.

This is where our VGM score comes in. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth and M for Momentum and the score is a weighted combination of these three scores. Such a score allows you to eliminate the negative aspects of stocks and select winners. However, it is important to keep in mind that each Style Score will carry a different weight while arriving at a VGM score.

We have narrowed down our search to the following stocks based on a good Zacks Rank and VGM score.

Performance of Key Consulting Stocks Vs. Sector (YTD)

CoreLogic, Inc. (NYSE: CLGX - Free Report ) is a provider of consumer, financial and property information, analytics and services to business and government.

CoreLogic has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and a VGM Score of A. The company has expected earnings growth of 27% for the current year. The forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio for the current financial year (F1) is 18.18, lower than the industry average of 19.17. The stock has returned 11.8% year-to-date, outperforming the Zacks Consulting Market sector, which has returned 11% over the same period.

Navigant Consulting Inc. (NYSE: NCI - Free Report ) is a provider of specialized consulting services.

Navigant Consulting has a VGM Score of B. The company has expected earnings growth of 15% for the current year. The stock has returned 56.6% year-to-date, outperforming the Zacks Consulting Market sector, which has returned 11% over the same period. The stock has a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

CRA International, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAI - Free Report ) provides legal, regulatory, business consulting and other expert services through its specialized consultants across the globe.

CRA International has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of A. The company has expected earnings growth of 18.2% for the current year. The stock has returned 77.9% year-to-date, outperforming the Zacks Consulting Market sector, which has returned 11% over the same period.

Accenture Plc (NYSE: ACN - Free Report ) is one of the world's leading providers of management consultancy, technology and outsourcing services.

Accenture has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM Score of A. The company has expected earnings growth of 10.8% for the current year. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 0.2% over the last 30 days. The stock has returned 12.2% year-to-date, outperforming the Zacks Consulting Market sector, which has returned 11% over the same period.

The Hackett Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HCKT - Free Report ) is a global technology consulting and strategic advisory firm.

Hackett Group has gained 5.4% year-to-date, underperforming the Zacks Consulting Market sector, which has gained 11% over the same period. However, it has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM Score of A. The company has expected earnings growth of 86.3% for the current year. Its earnings estimate for the current year has improved by 4.3% over the last 30 days. This provides a good opportunity to buy the stock.

Where Do Zacks' Investment Ideas Come From?

You are welcome to download the full, up-to-the-minute list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buy" stocks free of charge. There is no better place to start your own stock search. Plus you can access the full list of must-avoid Zacks Rank #5 "Strong Sells" and other private research. See the stocks free >>

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1 Stock of the Day pick for free .

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Strong Stocks that Should Be in the News

Many are little publicized and fly under the Wall Street radar. They're virtually unknown to the general public. Yet today's 220 Zacks Rank #1 "Strong Buys" were generated by the stock-picking system that has nearly tripled the market from 1988 through 2015. Its average gain has been a stellar +26% per year. See these high-potential stocks free >>.

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This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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CORELOGIC INC (CLGX): Free Stock Analysis Report

NAVIGANT CONSLT (NCI): Free Stock Analysis Report

CRA INTL INC (CRAI): Free Stock Analysis Report

ACCENTURE PLC (ACN): Free Stock Analysis Report

HACKETT GROUP (HCKT): 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.


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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