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What Makes West Pharmaceutical Services (WST) a Strong Momentum Stock: Buy Now?

Does West Pharmaceutical Services (WST) have what it takes to be a top stock pick for momentum investors? Let's find out.

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Momentum investing is all about the idea of following a stock's recent trend, which can be in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." And for investors following this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving in that direction. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.

- Zacks

While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.

Below, we take a look at West Pharmaceutical Services (WST), which currently has a Momentum Style Score of B. We also discuss some of the main drivers of the Momentum Style Score, like price change and earnings estimate revisions.

It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. West Pharmaceutical Services currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.

You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>

Set to Beat the Market?

In order to see if WST is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this medical device company holds up.

Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.

For WST, shares are up 3.9% over the past week while the Zacks Medical - Dental Supplies industry is up 1.94% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 8.63% compares favorably with the industry's 2.6% performance as well.

While any stock can see a spike in price, it takes a real winner to consistently outperform the market. Over the past quarter, shares of West Pharmaceutical Services have risen 34.47%, and are up 76.13% in the last year. On the other hand, the S&P 500 has only moved 8.54% and 32.84%, respectively.

Investors should also pay attention to WST's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. WST is currently averaging 281,456 shares for the last 20 days.

Earnings Outlook

The Zacks Momentum Style Score encompasses many things, including estimate revisions and a stock's price movement. Investors should note that earnings estimates are also significant to the Zacks Rank, and a nice path here can be promising. We have recently been noticing this with WST.

Over the past two months, 5 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost WST's consensus estimate, increasing from $7.16 to $8.22 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 5 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.

Bottom Line

Given these factors, it shouldn't be surprising that WST is a #2 (Buy) stock and boasts a Momentum Score of B. If you're looking for a fresh pick that's set to soar in the near-term, make sure to keep West Pharmaceutical Services on your short list.



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