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.
One of our most popular services, Zacks Premium offers 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 are useful tools to find 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, a portfolio of 50 stocks, offers investors. Not only does it serve as a starting point for long-term investors, but all stocks included in the list are poised to outperform the market over the next 12 months.
One thing that makes the Focus List even more advantageous is that each pick comes with a full Zacks Analyst Report. This helps explain why each stock was selected and why we believe it’s a good pick 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.
Earnings estimates, or expectations of growth and profitability, come from brokerage analysts who track publicly traded companies; these analysts work together with company management to analyze every aspect 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.
Utilizing the power of earnings estimate revisions is when the Zacks Rank joins the party. A unique, proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank uses changes to quarterly earnings expectations to help investors create 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.
Since stock prices respond to revisions, it can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates. By buying Focus List stocks, then, you’re likely getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.
Focus List Spotlight: Walmart (WMT – Free Report)
Walmart Inc. has evolved from just being a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer into an omnichannel player. In this regard, acquisitions of Bonobos, Moosejaw and Parcel; partnership with Shopify and Goldman Sachs; delivery programs like Walmart + and Express Delivery; and investment in online e-commerce platform Flipkart are noteworthy. These position the company to keep pace with the changing retail ecosystem and stay firm in the presence of rivals like Amazon and Target. Markedly, Walmart’s product offerings include almost everything from grocery to cosmetics, electronics to stationery, home furnishings to health and wellness products, and apparel to entertainment products, to name a few.
On May 30, 2017, WMT was added to the Focus List at $78.13 per share. Shares have increased 90.84% to $149.10 since then, and the company is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank.
12 analysts revised their earnings estimate higher in the last 60 days for fiscal 2022, while the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.33 to $6.28. WMT also boasts an average earnings surprise of 14.3%.
Additionally, WMT’s earnings are expected to grow 14.6% for the current fiscal year.
Reveal Winning Stocks
Unlock all of our powerful research, tools and analysis, including the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research Reports, Zacks Earnings ESP Filter, Premium Screener and more, as part of Zacks Premium. You’ll quickly identify which stocks to buy, hold and sell, and target today’s hottest industries, to help improve the performance of your portfolio. Gain full access now >>