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Why ICF International (ICFI) is a Top Stock for the Long-Term

The Zacks Focus List offers investors a way to easily find top-rated stocks and build a winning investment portfolio. Here's why you should take advan...

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

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.

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The Zacks Premium service, which provides 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, makes these more manageable goals. All of the features can help you identify 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

Building an investment portfolio from scratch can be difficult, so if you could, wouldn't you take a peek at a curated list of top stocks?

That's what the Zacks Focus List, a portfolio of 50 stocks, offers investors. Not only does it serve as a starting point for long-term investors, but all stocks included in the list are poised to outperform the market over the next 12 months.

One thing that makes the Focus List even more advantageous is that each pick comes with a full Zacks Analyst Report. This helps explain why each stock was selected 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.

Earnings estimate revisions are very important, since investors also need to take into consideration what a company will earn in the future.

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.

Utilizing the power of earnings estimate revisions is when the Zacks Rank joins the party. A unique, proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank uses changes to quarterly earnings expectations to help investors create 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.

It can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates, as stock prices respond to revisions. By adding Focus List stocks, there's a great chance you'll be getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, which can lead to price momentum.

Focus List Spotlight: ICF International (ICFI)

Headquartered in Fairfax, VA, ICF International, Inc. is a provider of professional services and technology-based solutions to government and commercial clients. The company’s primary services include advisory, analytics, digital, engagement and program implementation services. These services are offered in four markets namely, energy, environment and infrastructure; health, education, and social programs; safety and security, and consumer and financial.

ICFI, a #2 (Buy) stock, was added to the Focus List on April 23, 2018 at $66.60 per share. Since then, shares have increased 34.07% to $89.29.

For fiscal 2021, two analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days, and the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.04 to $4.61. ICFI boasts an average earnings surprise of 25.8%.

Moreover, analysts are expecting ICFI's earnings to grow 10.6% 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 >>



Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double"

From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all.

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ICF International, Inc. (ICFI): Free Stock Analysis Report

 

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