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Is Marsh & McLennan (MMC) a Solid Growth Stock? 3 Reasons to Think " Yes "

Marsh & McLennan (MMC) could produce exceptional returns because of its solid growth attributes.

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Investors seek growth stocks to capitalize on above-average growth in financials that help these securities grab the market's attention and produce exceptional returns. But finding a growth stock that can live up to its true potential can be a tough task.

- Zacks

In addition to volatility, these stocks carry above-average risk by their very nature. Also, one could end up losing from a stock whose growth story is actually over or nearing its end.

However, the Zacks Growth Style Score (part of the Zacks Style Scores system), which looks beyond the traditional growth attributes to analyze a company's real growth prospects, makes it pretty easy to find cutting-edge growth stocks.

Our proprietary system currently recommends Marsh & McLennan (MMC) as one such stock. This company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank.

Studies have shown that stocks with the best growth features consistently outperform the market. And for stocks that have a combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy), returns are even better.

While there are numerous reasons why the stock of this global professional services firm providing strategy, risk and people solutions is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:

Earnings Growth

Arguably nothing is more important than earnings growth, as surging profit levels is what most investors are after. And for growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is definitely preferable, and often an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.

While the historical EPS growth rate for Marsh & McLennan is 10.6%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 22.5% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 18.7%.

Impressive Asset Utilization Ratio

Growth investors often overlook asset utilization ratio, also known as sales-to-total-assets (S/TA) ratio, but it is an important feature of a real growth stock. This metric shows how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.

Right now, Marsh & McLennan has an S/TA ratio of 0.56, which means that the company gets $0.56 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 0.36, it can be said that the company is more efficient.

While the level of efficiency in generating sales matters a lot, so does the sales growth of a company. And Marsh & McLennan is well positioned from a sales growth perspective too. The company's sales are expected to grow 11.8% this year versus the industry average of 8.1%.

Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions

Beyond the metrics outlined above, investors should consider the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is a plus here. Empirical research shows that there is a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.

The current-year earnings estimates for Marsh & McLennan have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 0.1% over the past month.

Bottom Line

While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Marsh & McLennan a Zacks Rank #2 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of B based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above.

You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

This combination positions Marsh & McLennan well for outperformance, so growth investors may want to bet on it.



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