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Zacks.com featured highlights: Exelixis, RPC, Unit and Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - February 10, 2017 - Stocks in this week's article include Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXEL - Free Report ), RPC, Inc. (NYSE: RES - Free Report ), Unit Corporation (NYSE: UNT - Free Report ) and Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC (NYSE: FTAI - Free Report ).

Screen of the Week of Zacks Investment Research:

Buy 4 Stocks Riding High on Superb Earnings Acceleration

As we are in the thick of the Q4 earnings season, investors should ideally scoop up stocks that are ready to make a big move. Better-than-expected earnings results mostly lead to an uptick in the share price. Right from the top brass to research analysts, earnings growth captivates all. This is because earnings are a measure of the money a company is making. Earnings are essentially revenues that the company generates after deducting the cost of production over a given period of time.

But, earnings acceleration works even better in boosting the stock price. Studies have shown that a majority of successful stocks had seen acceleration in earnings before a positive stock price movement.

Finding Future Outperformers

Basically, earnings acceleration is the incremental growth in earnings of a company. In other words, if the rate of a company's quarter-over-quarter earnings growth increases within a stipulated frame of time, it can be referred to as earnings acceleration.

If you pick a stock judging its earnings growth trajectory then you are paying for something that has already been reflected in the stock price. Earnings acceleration, on the other hand, considers both direction and magnitude of growth rates. This helps you in picking stocks that are yet to gain significant attention from investors, and consequently a solid price increase is still in the cards.

Increasing percentage of earnings growth means that the company is fundamentally sound and has been on the right track for a considerable period of time. On the other hand, a sideways percentage of earnings growth indicates a period of consolidation or slowdown, while a decelerating percentage of earnings growth may at times drag prices down.

Hence, earnings acceleration should be viewed as a key metric for share price outperformance.

The Winning Strategy

Let's look at stocks for which the last two quarter-over-quarter percentage EPS growth rates exceed the growth rates of the previous periods. The projected quarter-over-quarter percentage EPS growth rates are also expected to be higher than the previous periods' growth rates.

EPS % Projected Growth (Q1)/(Q0) greater than EPS % Growth (Q0)/(Q-1) : The projected growth rate for the current quarter (Q1) over the completed quarter (Q0) has to be greater than the growth rate from the completed quarter (Q0) over one quarter ago (Q-1).

EPS % Growth (Q0)/(Q-1) greater than EPS % Growth (Q-1)/(Q-2) : The growth rate for the completed quarter (Q0) over one quarter ago (Q-1) has to be greater than the growth rate from one quarter ago (Q-1) over two quarters ago (Q-2).

EPS % Growth (Q-1)/(Q-2) greater than EPS % Growth (Q-2)/(Q-3) : The growth rate from one quarter ago (Q-1) over two quarters ago (Q-2) has to be greater than the growth rate from two quarters ago (Q-2) over three quarters ago (Q-3).

In addition to this, we have added the following parameters:

Current Price greater than or equal to $5 : This screens out the low-priced stocks.

Average 20-day volume greater than or equal to 50,000 : High trading volume implies that the stocks have adequate liquidity.

The above criteria narrowed down the universe of around 7,898 stocks to only 14. Here are the top four stocks:

Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXEL - Free Report ) is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of new medicines. The company's estimated growth rate for this year is 117.8%, way higher than the industry's gain of 10.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current year earnings increased 2.1% over the last 60 days. Exelixis has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

RPC, Inc. (NYSE: RES - Free Report ) provides a range of oilfield services and equipment for oil and gas companies involved in the exploration, production, and development of oil and gas properties. The company's estimated growth rate for this year is 128.7%, way more than the industry's addition of 7.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current year earnings surged 416.7% over the last 60 days. RPC sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Unit Corporation (NYSE: UNT - Free Report ), together with its subsidiaries, operates as an oil and natural gas contract drilling company primarily in the U.S. The company's estimated growth rate for this year is 357.5%, considerably higher than the industry's gain of 34.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current year earnings advanced 12% over the last 60 days. Unit Corporation has a Zacks Rank #2.

Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC (NYSE: FTAI - Free Report ) owns and acquires infrastructure and related equipment for the transportation of goods and people in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and North America. The company's estimated growth rate for this year is 357.1%, substantially higher than the industry's addition of 24.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current year earnings rose 12.5% over the last 60 days. Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure has a Zacks Rank #2.

You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.

The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.

Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today .

Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks' portfolios and strategies are available at:https://www.zacks.com/performance.

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Sign up now for your free trial today and start picking better stocks immediately. And with the backtesting feature, you can test your ideas to see how you can improve your trading in both up markets and down markets. Don't wait for the market to get better before you decide to do better. Start learning how to be a better trader today: https://at.zacks.com/?id=111

Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

About Screen of the Week

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Contact: Jim Giaquinto

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. 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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Exelixis, Inc. (EXEL): Free Stock Analysis Report

RPC, Inc. (RES): Free Stock Analysis Report

Unit Corporation (UNT): Free Stock Analysis Report

Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC (FTAI): 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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