Here at Zacks, we offer our members many different opportunities to take full advantage of the stock market, as well as how to invest in ways that lead to long-term success.
The Zacks Premium service makes this easier. It 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 like the Earnings ESP filter. All of these can help you quickly identify what stocks to buy, what to sell, and what are today’s hottest industries.
Also included in Zacks Premium is the Focus List. This is a long-term portfolio of top stocks that have all the traits to beat the market.
Breaking Down the Zacks Focus List
If you could, wouldn’t you jump at the chance for access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investing journey?
That’s what the Zacks Focus List offers. It’s a portfolio of 50 stocks that serve as a starting point for long-term investors to build their individual portfolios. The stocks included in the list are set to outperform the market over the next 12 months.
Additionally, each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, something that makes the Focus List even more valuable. The report explains in detail why each stock was picked and why we believe it’s good for the long-term.
The portfolio’s past performance only solidifies why investors should consider it as a starting point. For 2020, the Focus List gained 13.85% on an annualized basis compared to the S&P 500’s return of 9.38%. Cumulatively, the portfolio has returned 2,519.23% while the S&P returned 854.95%. Returns are for the period of February 1, 1996 to March 31, 2021.
Focus List Methodology
When stocks are picked for the Focus List, it reflects our enduring reliance on the power of earnings estimate revisions.
Brokerage analysts are in charge of determining a company’s growth and profitability expectations, or earnings estimates. These analysts work together with company management to evaluate all factors that may affect future earnings, like interest rates, the economy, and sector and industry optimism.
Earnings estimate revisions are very important, since investors also need to take into consideration what a company will earn in the future.
When a stock receives upward earnings estimate revisions, it will likely get even more positive changes in the future. For instance, if an analyst raised their earnings outlook last month, they’ll probably do so again this month, and other analysts will follow.
Harnessing the power of earnings estimate revisions is where the Zacks Rank comes in. The Zacks Rank is a unique, proprietary stock-rating model that utilizes changes to a company’s quarterly earnings expectations to help investors build a winning portfolio.
The Zacks Rank consists of four main pillars: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each one is given a raw score, which is recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank. Then, stocks are classified into five groups, ranging from “Strong Buy” to “Strong Sell,” using this data.
The Focus List is comprised of stocks hand-picked from a long list of #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) ranked companies, meaning that each new addition boasts a bullish earnings consensus among analysts.
Because stock prices react to revisions, buying stocks with rising earnings estimates can be very profitable. Focus List stocks offer investors a great opportunity to get into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.
UnitedHealth Group, Inc. provides a wide range of health care products and services, such as health maintenance organizations (HMOs), point of service plans (POS), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and managed fee-for-service programs.
On June 22, 2015, UNH was added to the Focus List at $120.33 per share. Shares have increased 242.33% to $411.92 since then, and the company is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank.
10 analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.44 to $18.61. UNH also boasts an average earnings surprise of 20.2%.
Moreover, analysts are expecting UNH‘s earnings to grow 10.3% for the current fiscal year.
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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.