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Zacks.com featured highlights: United States Steel, ServisFirst Bancshares, Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure, Ctrip.com International and Mastercard

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - January 26, 2017 - Stocks in this week's article include: United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X - Free Report ), ServisFirst Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: SFBS - Free Report ), Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC (NYSE: FTAI - Free Report ), Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (NASDAQ: CTRP - Free Report ) and Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA - Free Report ).

Screen of the Week of Zacks Investment Research:

5 Best Stocks with Earnings Acceleration

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. Notably, earnings are essentially revenues that the company generates after deducting the cost of production over a given period of time.

Earnings acceleration, however, works even better when it comes to lifting the stock price. Studies have shown that a majority of successful stocks had seen acceleration in earnings before an uptick in the stock price.

Future Outperformers

So, what is earnings acceleration? It is the incremental growth in a company's earnings per share (EPS). 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 called earnings acceleration.

In case of earnings growth, you pay for something that is already reflected in the stock price. But, earnings acceleration helps spot stocks that haven't caught the attention of investors yet, which once secured will invariably lead to a rally in the share price. This is because earnings acceleration considers both direction and magnitude of growth rates.

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 7,735 stocks to only 28. Here are the top five stocks:

United States Steel Corp. (NYSE: X - Free Report ) produces and sells flat-rolled and tubular steel products in North America and Europe. The company's projected growth rate for the current year is 149%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current year earnings rose 1.8% over the last 60 days. United States Steel sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

ServisFirst Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: SFBS - Free Report ) provides banking services to individual and corporate customers. The company's projected growth rate for the current year is 14.5%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current year earnings increased 3.3% in the last 90 days. ServisFirst Bancshares has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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 projected growth rate for the current year is 357.1%. 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.

Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (NASDAQ: CTRP - Free Report ) provides travel service for accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours, and corporate travel management in the People's Republic of China. The company's projected growth rate for the current year is 181.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current year earnings increased 12.2% in the last 60 days. Ctrip.com International has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA - Free Report ) provides transaction processing and other payment-related products and services in the United States and internationally. The company's projected growth rate for the current year is 14.9%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current year earnings advanced 2.7% in the last 90 days. Mastercard has a Zacks Rank #3.

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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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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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United States Steel Corporation (X): Free Stock Analysis Report

ServisFirst Bancshares, Inc. (SFBS): Free Stock Analysis Report

Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors LLC (FTAI): Free Stock Analysis Report

Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (CTRP): Free Stock Analysis Report

Mastercard Incorporated (MA): 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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