Looking for a Growth Stock? 3 Reasons Why AutoNation (AN) is a Solid Choice

view original post
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. However, it isn’t easy to find a great growth stock.

– Zacks

By their very nature, these stocks carry above-average risk and volatility. Moreover, if a company’s growth story is over or nearing its end, betting on it could lead to significant loss.

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 AutoNation (AN) as one such stock. This company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank.

Research shows that stocks carrying the best growth features consistently beat 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 auto retailer is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:

Earnings Growth

Earnings growth is arguably the most important factor, as stocks exhibiting exceptionally surging profit levels tend to attract the attention of most investors. For growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is highly preferable, as it is often perceived as an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.

While the historical EPS growth rate for AutoNation is 17.6%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company’s EPS is expected to grow 123.5% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 87.8%.

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 AutoNation is 93%, which is higher than many of its peers. In fact, the rate compares to the industry average of 26.1%.

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 14.5% over the past 3-5 years versus the industry average of 11.6%.

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.

There have been upward revisions in current-year earnings estimates for AutoNation. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 7.3% over the past month.

Bottom Line

While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made AutoNation 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.

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

This combination indicates that AutoNation is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.

Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence

This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.

See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

AutoNation, Inc. (AN): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Zacks Investment Research