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How Investors Can Grab Better Returns for Retail and Wholesale Using the Zacks ESP Screener

The Zacks Earnings ESP is a great way to find potential earnings surprises. Why investors should take advantage now.

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Two factors often determine stock prices in the long run: earnings and interest rates. Investors can't control the latter, but they can focus on a company's earnings results every quarter.

- Zacks

We know earnings results are vital, but how a company performs compared to bottom line expectations can be even more important when it comes to stock prices, especially in the near-term. This means that investors might want to take advantage of these earnings surprises.

The ability to identify stocks that are likely to top quarterly earnings expectations can be profitable, but it's no simple task. Here at Zacks, our Earnings ESP filter helps make things easier.

The Zacks Earnings ESP, Explained

The Zacks Earnings ESP is more formally known as the Expected Surprise Prediction, and it aims to grab the inside track on the latest analyst estimate revisions ahead of a company's report. The idea is relatively intuitive as a newer projection might be based on more complete information.

With this in mind, the Expected Surprise Prediction compares the Most Accurate Estimate (being the most recent) against the overall Zacks Consensus Estimate. The percentage difference provides the ESP figure. The system also utilizes our core Zacks Rank to provide a stronger system for identifying stocks that might beat their next quarterly earnings estimate and possibly see the stock price climb.

When we join a positive earnings ESP with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or stronger, stocks posted a positive bottom-line surprise 70% of the time. Plus, this system saw investors produce roughly 28% annual returns on average, according to our 10 year backtest.

Stocks with a #3 (Hold) ranking, which is most stocks covered at 60%, are expected to perform in-line with the broader market. But stocks that fall into the #2 (Buy) and #1 (Strong Buy) ranking, or the top 15% and top 5% of stocks, respectively, should outperform the market. Strong Buy stocks should outperform more than any other rank.

Should You Consider Costco?

The last thing we will do today, now that we have a grasp on the ESP and how powerful of a tool it can be, is to quickly look at a qualifying stock. Costco (COST) holds a #2 (Buy) at the moment and its Most Accurate Estimate comes in at $3.51 a share 13 days away from its upcoming earnings release on September 23, 2021.

COST has an Earnings ESP figure of 0.26%, which, as explained above, is calculated by taking the percentage difference between the $3.51 Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.50. Costco is one of just a large database of stocks with positive ESPs. These stocks can be filtered by ESP, Zacks Rank, % Surprise (Last Qtr.), and Reporting date.

Now that you know how to use the Zacks Earnings ESP to your advantage, make sure to check out the Earnings ESP Home Page for even more earnings related strategies to create a winning portfolio.

Find Stocks to Buy or Sell Before They're Reported

Use the Zacks Earnings ESP Filter to turn up stocks with the highest probability of positively, or negatively, surprising to buy or sell before they're reported for profitable earnings season trading. Check it out here >>



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To read this article on Zacks.com click here.