Why Huntington Ingalls (HII) is a Top Stock for the Long-Term

·4 min read

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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 offers. It's a portfolio of 50 stocks that serve as a starting point for long-term investors to build their individual portfolios. The stocks included in the list are set to outperform the market over the next 12 months.

Additionally, each selection is accompanied by a full Zacks Analyst Report, something that makes the Focus List even more valuable. The report explains in detail why each stock was picked and why we believe it's good 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.

Brokerage analysts are in charge of determining a company's growth and profitability expectations, or earnings estimates. These analysts work together with company management to evaluate all factors 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.

Harnessing the power of earnings estimate revisions is where the Zacks Rank comes in. The Zacks Rank, which is a unique, proprietary stock-rating model, employs earnings estimate revisions to make it easier to build a winning portfolio.

There are four main factors behind the Zacks Rank: Agreement, Magnitude, Upside, and Surprise. Each one of these features is then given a raw score that's recalculated every night and compiled into the Rank. Using this data, stocks are 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.

Since stock prices respond to revisions, it can be very profitable to buy stocks with rising earnings estimates. By buying Focus List stocks, then, you're likely getting into companies whose future earnings estimates will be raised, potentially leading to price momentum.

Focus List Spotlight: Huntington Ingalls (HII)

Based in Newport News, VA, Huntington Ingalls Industries designs, builds and maintains nuclear-powered ships such as aircraft carriers and submarines, and non-nuclear ships, such as surface combatants, expeditionary warfare/amphibious assault and coastal defense surface ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and provides after-market services for military ships around the globe.

On May 9, 2016, HII was added to the Focus List at $155.20 per share. Shares have increased 31.66% to $205.11 since then, and the company is a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank.

One analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2021. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.24 to $13.56. HII boasts an average earnings surprise of 25.5%.

Additionally, HII's earnings are expected to grow 35.6% for the current fiscal year.

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