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 CIRCOR International (NYSE: CIR), Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR), Fuel Systems Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSYS), Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE: ANR) and CF Industries Holdings (NYSE: CF). Each of these stocks easily outperformed the S&P 500.
Stocks ranked #1 (Strong Buy) by Zacks have produced an average annual return of +32% 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.
CIRCOR International (NYSE: CIR) raised its second-quarter earnings guidance on Jul 8, sending estimates for that quarter higher by 33.3% in 7 days. The improved outlook also helped CIR make the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List for last week as shares jumped 29.3%. The company, which provides valves and other fluid control devices, now expects between $1.04 and $1.10 for the quarter, compared to its previous guidance of 74 cents to 83 cents. At the time of the announcement, analysts were expecting 81 cents for the quarter. CIR enjoyed strong performances from its energy segment and its instrumentation & thermal fluid controls segment during the quarter.
Earnings estimates for the full year have also been on the rise in the past week, gaining about 9.6%. Earnings estimates for 2009 are currently expected to be about 12.4% higher than 2008, which is an encouraging sign for the future. CIRCOR, which was featured as an Aggressive Growth stock of the day at Zacks.com on Friday, will report its second-quarter results on Jul 30.
Shares of oil & gas producer Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR) advanced 20.4% for the week ended Jul 11, after announcing encouraging initial results for its second well in the Three Forks/Sanish formation in the North Dakota Bakken Shale area. The company set a new 52-week high after the announcement. CLR’s first well in the area also provided positive results. The company is attempting to find out whether the Three Forks/Sanish formation is a separate oil-producing reservoir from the surrounding area.
Analysts like this company’s potential and have boosted earnings estimates for this year by 26.8% over the past two months. That includes a gain of approximately 10.5% in the past 30 days. In addition, next year’s earnings estimates are currently expected to advance by about 28.5% over this year’s. Continental Resources is scheduled to report its second-quarter results later this month.
Fuel Systems Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSYS) makes its second appearance on the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List in the past three weeks. Last week, a brokerage upgrade sparked optimism for the company’s second-quarter report, which helped shares move higher by 17.9%. Analysts have boosted second-quarter earnings estimates by 53% in two months, including a gain of 30% in the past 30 days. Expectations for the full year are up 17.2% in the past month.
FSYS’ first-quarter results highlighted strong demand for its products that allow internal combustion engines to operate on natural gas. Earnings per share of 40 cents soared past the consensus by 150%, while revenues moved to $94.6 million from $54.8 million year over year. The company also raised its full year 2008 revenue guidance to $320 million.
Despite coal’s plunge earlier this month, Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE: ANR) remains a presence on the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List. Shares of the company gained 12.7%. ANR has been a top performer several times in the past, most recently for the week ended Jun 27 when shares improved 8.5%. Earnings estimates for this year are up 16.2% from 2 months ago. Furthermore, analysts expect next year’s earnings per share to outperform this year’s by more than 350%.
In its first quarter, ANR earned 39 cents per share, which beat the consensus by almost 130% while trouncing the year-ago result. Coal sales advanced 17% year over year to $445.7 million. The company said it achieved the highest quarterly price realization in its history, thanks to rising metallurgical coal exports and price levels.
The fertilizer industry may not be as big a story today as it was a few months ago, but that didn’t keep CF Industries Holdings (NYSE: CF) from securing a prominent spot on the Top Performers List. For the week ended Jul 11, the company gained approximately 11.7%. Fundamentals in the industry remain rather favorable, especially in the current environment. Earnings estimates for this year are up 5.8% in two months, including a gain of 2.4% in the past 7 days.
In its first-quarter, the company reported earnings per share of $2.77, which marked a solid year-over-year improvement. The result also bettered the consensus by more than 29%. In addition, net sales advanced 41% to $667.3 million due to substantially higher prices for all of its products.
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 +32%. 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 129% annually (+5 % vs. +12%). 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.