Investors often choose the stock-picking approach based on a low price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. This strategy follows the notion that the lower the P/E ratio, the higher the stock value. The reasoning behind this is straightforward — when a stock’s current market price does not adequately reflect its higher earnings, it indicates growth.
But there is more to this whole P/E story. This is because not only low P/E but also stocks with a rising P/E can also fetch strong returns. In this regard, investors can bet on the likes of Crocs CROX, AlloVir ALVR, Arcadia Biosciences RKDA, The Duckhorn Portfolio NAPA and Genuine Parts GPC.
Rising P/E: A Useful Tool
The concept is that as earnings rise, so should the price of the stock. As forecasts for expected earnings come in higher, strong demand for the stock should continue to push up its prices. After all, astock’s P/E gives an indication of how much investors are ready to shell out per dollar of earnings.
Suppose an investor wants to buy a stock with a P/E ratio of 30. This means that he is willing to shell out $30 for only $1 worth of earnings as he expects earnings of the company to rise at a faster pace in the future owing to strong fundamentals.
So, if the P/E of a stock is rising steadily, it means that investors are assured of its inherent strength and expect some strong positives out of it.
Also, studies have revealed that stocks have seen their P/E ratios jump over 100% from their breakout point in the cycle. So, if you can pick stocks early in their breakout cycle, you can end up seeing considerable gains.
The Winning Strategy
In order to shortlist stocks that are exhibiting an increasing P/E, we chose the following as our primary screening parameters.
EPS growth estimate for the current year is greater than or equal to last year’s actual growth
Percentage change in last year EPS should be greater than or equal zero
(These two criteria point to flat earnings or a growth trend over the years.)
Percentage change in price over four weeks greater than the percentage change in price over 12 weeks
Percentage change in price over 12 weeks greater than percentage change in price over 24 weeks
(These two criteria show that price of the stock is increasing consistently over the said timeframes.)
Percentage price change for four weeks relative to the S&P 500 greater than the percentage price change for 12 weeks relative to the S&P 500
Percentage price change for 12 weeks relative to the S&P 500 greater than the percentage price change for 24 weeks relative to the S&P 500
(Here, the case for consistent price gains gets even stronger as it displays percentage price changes relative to the S&P 500.)
Percentage price change for 12 weeks is 20% higher than or equal to the percentage price change for 24 weeks, but it should not exceed 100%
(A 20% increase in the price of a stock from the breakout point gives cues of an impending uptrend. But a jump of over 100% indicates that there is limited scope for further upside and that the stock might be due for a reversal.)
In addition, we place a few other criteria that lead us to some likely outperformers.
Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: Only companies with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) can get through.
Average 20-day Volume greater than or equal to 50,000: High trading volume implies that the stocks have adequate liquidity.
Just these few criteria narrowed down the universe from over 7,700 stocks to just 46.
Here are five out of the 46 stocks:
Crocs: The Zacks Rank #2 companyis one of the leading footwear brands with a focus on comfort and style.
The average earnings surprise of CROX for the past four quarters is 19.92%.
AlloVir: The Zacks Rank #2 company is primarily engaged in late clinical-stage cell therapy, which focuses on restoring natural immunity against life-threatening viral diseases.
The average earnings surprise of ALVR for the past four quarters is 7.75%.
Arcadia Biosciences: This Zacks Rank #2 company is engaged in developing and commercializing agricultural products primarily in the United States.
The average earnings surprise of RKDA for the past four quarters is 40.56%.
The Duckhorn Portfolio:This Zacks Rank #2 company is the premier producer of wines, principally in North America.
The average earnings surprise of NAPA for the past four quarters is 14.17%.
Genuine Parts: The Zacks Rank #2 company distributes automotive and industrial replacement parts and materials.
The average earnings surprise of GPC for the past four quarters is 7.10%.
Genuine Parts Company (GPC): Free Stock Analysis Report
Crocs, Inc. (CROX): Free Stock Analysis Report
Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. (RKDA): Free Stock Analysis Report
AlloVir, Inc. (ALVR): Free Stock Analysis Report
The Duckhorn Portfolio, Inc. (NAPA): Free Stock Analysis Report
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Zacks Investment Research
This article originally appeared on Zacks
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