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This 1 Medical Stock Could Beat Earnings: Why It Should Be on Your Radar

Investors looking for ways to find stocks that are set to beat quarterly earnings estimates should check out the Zacks Earnings ESP.

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Wall Street watches a company's quarterly report closely to understand as much as possible about its recent performance and what to expect going forward. Of course, one figure often stands out among the rest: earnings.

- 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.

The core of the ESP model is comparing the Most Accurate Estimate to the Zacks Consensus Estimate, where the resulting percentage difference between the two equals the Expected Surprise Prediction. The Zacks Rank is also factored into the ESP metric to better help find companies that appear poised to top their next bottom-line consensus estimate, which will hopefully help lift the stock price.

Bringing together a positive earnings ESP alongside a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) or better has helped stocks report a positive earnings surprise 70% of the time. Furthermore, by using these parameters, investors have seen 28.3% annual returns on average, according to our 10 year backtest.

Most stocks, about 60%, fall into the #3 (Hold) category, and they are expected to perform in-line with the broader market. Stocks with a #2 (Buy) and #1 (Strong Buy) rating, or the top 15% and top 5% of stocks, respectively, should outperform the market, with Strong Buy stocks outperforming more than any other rank.

Should You Consider HCA Healthcare?

Now that we understand what the ESP is and how beneficial it can be, let's dive into a stock that currently fits the bill. HCA Healthcare (HCA) earns a #2 (Buy) right now and its Most Accurate Estimate sits at $4.25 a share, just 23 days from its upcoming earnings release on October 22, 2021.

By taking the percentage difference between the $4.25 Most Accurate Estimate and the $3.85 Zacks Consensus Estimate, HCA Healthcare has an Earnings ESP of 10.33%. Investors should also know that HCA is just one of a large group of stocks with positive ESPs. All of these qualifying stocks can be filtered by ESP, Zacks Rank, % Surprise (Last Qtr.), and Reporting date.

Don't forget to head to the Earnings ESP Home Page. There, you'll find lots more earnings-related investing strategies to help build 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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