Zacks.com announces the latest list of top performing Zacks #1 Rank (“strong buy”) stocks. The stocks on the prestigious list with the highest returns last week were CNOOC Limited (NYSE: CEO), UTi Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: UTIW), True Religion Apparel, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRLG), Comfort Systems USA, Inc. (NYSE: FIX) and Innophos Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: IPHS). Each of these stocks easily outperformed the S&P 500.
Stocks ranked #1 (Strong Buy) by Zacks have produced an average annual return of +30% since inception in 1988. During the 2000-2002 bear market, Zacks #1 Rank stocks gained 43.8% while the S&P 500 tumbled 37.6%. To learn more about the Zacks Rank, go to http://at.zacks.com/?id=3172.
Here is a synopsis of the last week’s best performing Zacks #1 Rank stocks.
CNOOC Limited (NYSE: CEO) made the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List for the week ended Aug 29 as shares advanced 10.2%. Earnings estimates for this year are moving in the right direction, gaining approximately 22.6% in 2 months and 7.5% in 7 days. Furthermore, analysts currently expect a more than 23% improvement in earnings next year, compared to this year.
The Chinese oil company enjoyed a strong first half of 2008 as it capitalized on high oil prices. Net profit for the period grew by more than 89% over the same period a year earlier. Oil and gas sales advanced 63.9%. In addition, its average realized oil price jumped 74.3% to US$102.49.
UTi Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: UTIW) gained more than 10.1% in the week prior to its fiscal second-quarter report, which is scheduled for today. The supply chain services and solutions company has put together several consecutive quarters of better-than-expected EPS; amassing an average surprise of approximately 8.4% over the past four quarters. At the moment, analysts expect earnings estimates for next year, ending January 2010, to advance about 18% from this year, ending January 2009.
For its fiscal first quarter, UTIW announced earnings per share of 18 cents, excluding items, which topped the consensus by 12.5%. Revenues jumped 26% to almost $1.19 billion from $944.7 million last year. The company stated that revenues continued to outpace the market due mainly to solid organic growth. UTIW was able to gain market share during a difficult environment and expects this trend to continue in fiscal 2009, though the soft economy could pose problems. For its fiscal second quarter, analysts are expecting 27 cents.
Despite a difficult economic environment, True Religion Apparel, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRLG) is expanding, while reporting record-breaking revenue and earnings growth. Shares of the premium jeans maker advanced 7.5% last week. Earnings estimates for this year are up 5.7% over the past month, and analysts currently expect next year’s earnings to improve approximately 21.7% from this year.
In its second-quarter report from early August, TRLG raised its 2008 EPS guidance to between $1.61 and $1.65, compared to its previous guidance of $1.52 to $1.56. The company stated that its first-half performance, along with increased visibility into the second half, led to the raised outlook. Earnings per share in the quarter advanced to 39 cents, which bettered the consensus estimate by almost 18.2%. Net sales increased nearly 79% to $64.2 million from last year’s $35.9 million. Furthermore, TRLG opened 12 new stores during the quarter, and raised its targeted 2008 store count to 39 by the end of 2008.
Comfort Systems USA, Inc. (NYSE: FIX) shares gained almost 6.9% last week. On Aug 18, the company announced that it acquired Delcard Associates, Inc., a full-service commercial industrial and institutional heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company. In addition, FIX’s Board authorized increases in its stock repurchase program. FIX was also featured as a Growth & Income Buy Stock of the Day at Zacks.com on Sept 2.
In the second quarter, FIX reported earnings per share of 38 cents, compared to 25 cents in the previous year. The result also eclipsed the consensus by more than 15%. Revenues of approximately $355 million (or $318.7 million on a same-store basis) advanced from $280.5 million in 2007. Over the past month, earnings estimates for this year advanced 6.8%.
Innophos Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: IPHS) is a phosphate producer with a solid earnings trend. Expectations for this year are up 172% over the past 2 months, including a gain of 26% in just the past 7 days. IPHS made the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List for last week as shares gained 6.7%.
In late July, IPHS reported a second-quarter earnings per share surprise of almost 215%, as its result of $2.74 easily exceeded the consensus of 87 cents. It also reversed a year-ago loss. The company has been able to successfully increase prices, which helped revenue to grow by almost 74% to $264 million.
About the Zacks Rank
Since 1988, the Zacks Rank has proven that "Earnings estimate revisions are the most powerful force impacting stock prices." Since inception in 1988, #1 Rank stocks have generated an average annual return of +30%. During the 2000-2002 bear market, Zacks #1 Rank stocks gained +43.8%, while the S&P 500 tumbled -37.6%. Also note that the Zacks Rank system has just as many Strong Sell recommendations (Rank #5) as Strong Buy recommendations (Rank #1). Since 1988, Zacks Rank #5 stocks have underperformed the S&P 500 by 81% annually (+2 % vs. +11%). Thus, the Zacks Rank system allows investors to truly manage portfolio trading effectively.
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Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.