Growth stocks are attractive to many investors, as above-average financial growth helps these stocks easily grab the market’s attention and produce exceptional returns. But finding a great growth stock is not easy at all.
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, it’s pretty easy to find cutting-edge growth stocks with the help of 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.
Our proprietary system currently recommends Ensign Group (ENSG) 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.
Here are three of the most important factors that make the stock of this provider of nursing and rehabilitative care services a great growth pick right now.
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 Ensign Group is 17.7%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company’s EPS is expected to grow 36.3% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of -2.2%.
Cash Flow Growth
Cash is the lifeblood of any business, but higher-than-average cash flow growth is more beneficial and important for growth-oriented companies than for mature companies. That’s because, high cash accumulation enables these companies to undertake new projects without raising expensive outside funds.
Right now, year-over-year cash flow growth for Ensign Group is 18.2%, which is higher than many of its peers. In fact, the rate compares to the industry average of 6.9%.
While investors should actually consider the current cash flow growth, it’s worth taking a look at the historical rate too for putting the current reading into proper perspective. The company’s annualized cash flow growth rate has been 16.9% over the past 3-5 years versus the industry average of -6.5%.
Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions
Superiority of a stock in terms of the metrics outlined above can be further validated by looking at the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is of course favorable 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 Ensign Group have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 6.5% over the past month.
While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Ensign Group a Zacks Rank #1 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of A based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above.
This combination positions Ensign Group well for outperformance, so growth investors may want to bet on it.
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The Ensign Group, Inc. (ENSG): Free Stock Analysis Report
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