In good markets or bad, earnings are one of the most important things that influence stock prices. But instead of just looking at only the most recent quarter's earnings, try looking for earnings acceleration too. With earnings season in full swing, this is a good time to go over this. Studies have shown that almost all of the most successful stocks in the past had displayed accelerated earnings BEFORE their most impressive price moves. Sideways 'percentage earnings growth' (even if they're good) or decelerating 'percentage earnings growth' (strong or not) can potentially signal a period of consolidation (or slowdown), which in turn can flatten out prices or send them lower. But increasing 'percentage earnings growth' (consistently improving from the company's prior percentage of earnings growth) can often be the difference between good stocks and great stocks.
The Parameters: In this screen, I'm focusing on increasing 'percentage earnings growth' and projected 'percentage earnings growth'. I want the last two Quarter over Quarter % EPS Growth periods to be greater than the previous periods, and the next projected Quarter over Quarter % EPS Growth period to be greater than the previous period as well.
  • EPS % Growth (Q-1)/(Q-2) greater than EPS % Growth (Q-2)/(Q-3)
  • EPS % Growth (Q0)/(Q-1) greater than EPS % Growth (Q-1)/(Q-2)
  • EPS % Proj. Growth (Q1)/(Q0) greater than EPS % Growth (Q0)/(Q-1)
For Research Wizard users, this would be done in the Calculation Expression feature: The expressions look like this: i520 > i521 = 1 (True)
i519 > i520 = 1 (True)
i547 > i519 = 1 (True) In addition to that, I'm only including stocks with a Zacks Rank better than or equal to #3 (Hold, Buy, or Strong Buy); a price of $5 or higher; with an average daily share volume of 100,000 or more.
  • Zacks Rank less than or equal to 3
  • Current Price greater than or equal to $5
  • Avg. Daily Volume greater than or equal to 100,000
Here are 5 stocks to watch from this week's screen: BONT The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc.
HLS HealthSouth Corp.
MENT Mentor Graphics Corp.
MRO Marathon Oil Corp.
PIR Pier 1 Imports, Inc. When a company reports earnings, take a look at their numbers, and then see how their current % EPS Growth stacks up to their previous period's % EPS Growth (and the period prior to that). Moreover, take a look at how their Earnings Growth is forecasted in their next reporting period as well. Again, with statistics suggesting that accelerated earnings typically appear BEFORE the most impressive price moves of a stock, this is definitely a screen worth watching for finding winning stocks on the move!!! Get the rest of the stocks on this list and start finding companies with accelerated earnings growth on your own. It's easy to do. Click here for your 2 week free trial to the Research Wizard. 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: http://www.zacks.com/performance.


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Tickers in this Article: MENT, BONT, PIR, MRO, HLS

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