New to Investing? This 1 Computer and Technology Stock Could Be the Perfect Starting Point

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 get access to a curated list of stocks to kickstart your investment portfolio, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to take a peek?

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.

What makes the Focus List even more helpful is that each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, which explains the reasoning behind every stock’s selection 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.

What a company will earn down the road also needs to be taken into consideration, and this is why earnings estimate revisions are so important.

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, which is a unique, proprietary stock-rating model, employs earnings estimate revisions to make it easier to build a winning portfolio.

Four primary factors make up the Zacks Rank: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each is given a raw score that’s recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank, and with this data, stocks are then classified into five groups, ranging from “Strong Buy” to “Strong Sell.”

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: Agilent Technologies (A)

Palo Alto, CA-based Agilent Technologies, Inc. was originally a spin-off from Hewlett-Packard. The company is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of a broad-based portfolio of test and measurement products serving multiple end markets.

On July 11, 2017, A was added to the Focus List at $59.86 per share. Shares have increased 101.42% to $120.57 since then, and the company is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank.

Seven analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2022. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.04 to $4.90. A boasts an average earnings surprise of 4.9%.

Moreover, analysts are expecting A’s earnings to grow 12.9% 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 >>

7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days

Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers “Most Likely for Early Price Pops.”

Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. 

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Agilent Technologies, Inc. (A): 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.

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