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Zacks.com featured highlights: Vertex Pharmaceuticals, AGCO, Owens Corning, Five9 and Axcelis Technologies

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL –July 24, 2017 - Stocks in this week’s article include Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX Free Report), AGCO Corporation ( AGCO Free Report), Owens Corning (NYSE: OC Free Report), Five9 Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVN Free Report) and Axcelis Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ACLS Free Report) .

5 Stock Picks with Earnings Beat Potential

Tapping stocks that come up with solid earnings is a common practice. But instead of picking them post earnings, investing in those that are like to beat market expectations may increase your gains manifolds.

Why Is Positive Earnings Surprise So Important?

Historically, stocks of companies with solid quarterly earnings (on a nominal basis) fall if they miss or just come in line with market expectations. After all, a 20% earnings rise (though it looks good apparently) doesn’t tell you if earnings growth has been exhibiting a decelerating trend. If that is the case, the company’s fundamentals are in serious question.

There is also the factor of seasonal fluctuation. If a company’s Q1 is seasonally weak and Q4 is strong, then it is likely to report a sequential earnings decline. In a such case, growth rates are ambiguous while judging the company’s true health.

On the other hand, Wall Street analysts study companies’ financials and initiatives to forecast earnings. They in fact club their insights and the company’s guidance to derive an earnings estimate. So, outperforming that estimate is almost equivalent to beating the company’s own expectation as well as market perception. And if the company manages to surpass earnings by a wide margin, it typically drives the stock higher right after the release.

How to Find Out Those Gems?

Since it is hard to predict if a company will beat or miss in the upcoming earnings season, investors can check its earnings surprise history. A notable track record generally acts as a tailwind. It revs up chances of beating estimates in the next release too as investors expect the company to use the same old trick to come ahead of expectations, or is smart enough to pull off a beat in the next release.

The Winning Strategy

In order to shortlist stocks that are likely to come up with an earnings surprise, we chose the following as our primary screening parameters.

Last EPS Surprise greater than or equal to 10%: Stocks delivering positive surprise in the last quarter tend to surprise again.

Average EPS Surprise in the last four quarters greater than 20%: We lifted the bar for outperformance slight higher by setting the average earnings surprise for the last four quarters at 20%.

Average EPS Surprise in the last two quarters greater than 20%: This points to a more consistent surprise history and makes the case for another surprise even stronger.

In addition, we place a few other criteria that push up the chance of a positive surprise.

Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: Only companies with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) rating can get through.

Earnings ESP greater than zero: A stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank of #1, 2 or 3 for an earnings beat to happen, as per our proven model.

In order to zero in on those that have long-term growth potential and high trading liquidity we have added the following parameters too:

Next 3–5 Years Estimated EPS Growth (Per Year) greater than 10%: Solid expected earnings growth exhibits the stock’s long-term growth prospects.

Average 20-day Volume greater than 100,000: High trading volume implies that the stocks have adequate liquidity.

A handful of criteria has narrowed down the universe from over 7,700 stocks to around seven.

Here are five out of seven stocks that passed the screen:

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX Free Report): The company is a developer and marketer of small molecule drugs. The stock belongs to a Zacks Industry Rank in the top 46%. It has a Zacks Rank #2.

AGCO Corporation (AGCO Free Report): The company is engaged in the manufacturer and distribution of farm equipment, machinery and replacement parts in the United States and Canada. The stock belongs to a Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 5%. It carries a Zacks Rank #1.

Owens Corning (NYSE: OC Free Report ): This world leader in building materials systems and composite solutions sports a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Industry Rank of the stock is in the top 36%.

Five9 Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVN Free Report): This provider of cloud software for contact centers holds a Zacks Rank #2. The Zacks Industry Rank of the stock is in the top 25%.

Axcelis Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ACLS Free Report): It is a leading producer of ion implantation equipment used in the fabrication of semiconductors. The stock has a Zacks Rank #2 and the Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 10%.

You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.

The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.

Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today .

About Screen of the Week

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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AGCO Corporation (AGCO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Owens Corning Inc (OC): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Five9, Inc. (FIVN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Axcelis Technologies, Inc. (ACLS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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