Momentum investing revolves around the idea of following a stock's recent trend in either direction. In the 'long' context, investors will be essentially be "buying high, but hoping to sell even higher." With this methodology, taking advantage of trends in a stock's price is key; once a stock establishes a course, it is more than likely to continue moving that way. The goal is that once a stock heads down a fixed path, it will lead to timely and profitable trades.
While many investors like to look for momentum in stocks, this can be very tough to define. There is a lot of debate surrounding which metrics are the best to focus on and which are poor quality indicators of future performance. The Zacks Momentum Style Score, part of the Zacks Style Scores, helps address this issue for us.
Below, we take a look at Peabody Energy (BTU), a company that currently holds a Momentum Style Score of A. We also talk about price change and earnings estimate revisions, two of the main aspects of the Momentum Style Score.
It's also important to note that Style Scores work as a complement to the Zacks Rank, our stock rating system that has an impressive track record of outperformance. Peabody Energy currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy). Our research shows that stocks rated Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and #2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B outperform the market over the following one-month period.
You can see the current list of Zacks #1 Rank Stocks here >>>
Set to Beat the Market?
In order to see if BTU is a promising momentum pick, let's examine some Momentum Style elements to see if this coal mining company holds up.
Looking at a stock's short-term price activity is a great way to gauge if it has momentum, since this can reflect both the current interest in a stock and if buyers or sellers have the upper hand at the moment. It is also useful to compare a security to its industry, as this can help investors pinpoint the top companies in a particular area.
For BTU, shares are up 25.49% over the past week while the Zacks Coal industry is up 1.78% over the same time period. Shares are looking quite well from a longer time frame too, as the monthly price change of 35.81% compares favorably with the industry's 4.44% performance as well.
While any stock can see its price increase, it takes a real winner to consistently beat the market. That is why looking at longer term price metrics — such as performance over the past three months or year — can be useful as well. Over the past quarter, shares of Peabody Energy have risen 127.21%, and are up 226.36% in the last year. In comparison, the S&P 500 has only moved 5.48% and 38.4%, respectively.
Investors should also take note of BTU's average 20-day trading volume. Volume is a useful item in many ways, and the 20-day average establishes a good price-to-volume baseline; a rising stock with above average volume is generally a bullish sign, whereas a declining stock on above average volume is typically bearish. Right now, BTU is averaging 10,196,906 shares for the last 20 days.
The Zacks Momentum Style Score also takes into account trends in estimate revisions, in addition to price changes. Please note that estimate revision trends remain at the core of Zacks Rank as well. A nice path here can help show promise, and we have recently been seeing that with BTU.
Over the past two months, 2 earnings estimates moved higher compared to none lower for the full year. These revisions helped boost BTU's consensus estimate, increasing from -$1.91 to -$0.28 in the past 60 days. Looking at the next fiscal year, 2 estimates have moved upwards while there have been no downward revisions in the same time period.
Taking into account all of these elements, it should come as no surprise that BTU is a #2 (Buy) stock with a Momentum Score of A. If you've been searching for a fresh pick that's set to rise in the near-term, make sure to keep Peabody Energy on your short list.
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