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 USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: USNA), Sohu.com (NASDAQ: SOHU), Cyberonics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYBX), Almost Family, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AFAM) and OSI Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OSIP). 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.
USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: USNA) – a developer and manufacturer of nutritional, personal care and weight management products – made the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List last week as shares gained 14.25%. On Jul 22, the company announced second-quarter results, which included earnings per share of 62 cents. That result inched past the consensus by about 1.6%. Net sales of $109.2 million advanced year over year by 1.5% from $107.5 million.
Earnings estimates for this year are up approximately 12% over the past two months, including advances in the past month and seven days as well. For next year, expectations are up more than 10% in two months, including a gain of 3.2% in the past week. Furthermore, analysts currently expect next year’s earnings per share to be about 10% better than this year’s.
Earnings estimates for Sohu.com (NASDAQ: SOHU) were moving higher heading into its second-quarter report on Monday. In fact, analysts have been boosting expectations on this Chinese Web portal for a while now. Estimates for this year are up almost 16% over the past two months, including an advance of about 2% in seven days. In addition, next year’s EPS is currently expected to rise 29% from this year, which is an encouraging sign for the future.
Shares of the company advanced 9.4% for the week ended Jul 25, which was enough to secure a spot on the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List. Its second-quarter performance included total revenues that soared 162% year over year to US$102 million from US$39 million. Furthermore, earnings per share not only easily surpassed the year-ago result, but also improved handily upon the consensus. As for the future, Sohu.com believes that penetration of the Internet in China will escalate even higher due to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The company also announced plans for an IPO of Changyou.com Ltd., its online games business subsidiary.
Shares of medical device manufacturer Cyberonics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYBX) rose 8.3% last week. Earnings estimates for this year, which ends in April 2009, increased 92% over the past two months and 25% over the past 30 days. The company is the developer and marketer of the VNS Therapy(TM) System, which is used in the treatments of epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression.
In June, CYBX reported strong numbers for its fiscal fourth quarter, including sales that moved higher 8% year over year to $33.9 million from $31.4 million. In addition, earnings per share reversed a year-ago loss and easily eclipsed the consensus. For fiscal 2009, CYBX expects sales between $134 million and $138 million. It didn’t offer a specific earnings guidance for the year as it searches for a financial partner for the depression indication, but does expect positive earnings for the year.
Almost Family, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AFAM) earnings estimates and share price have been rising as the home health nursing services provider prepares to report its second-quarter results in early August. Expectations for this year are up 6.3% in the past two months and 2.7% in the past 30 days. In addition, the company was featured as a Momentum Stock of the Day at Zacks.com on two occasions in July – most recently on this past Monday. Shares of the company improved 6.3% for the week ended Jul 25.
In its first quarter, AFAM announced earnings per share from continuing operations of 45 cents on net service revenues of $39 million. The earnings result advanced from the previous year while also beating the consensus by approximately 25%. Revenues were enhanced 23% from $31.8 million. In mid-June, the company agreed to acquire the stock of Patient Care, Inc., which will expand its presence in the Northeast. AFAM was also recently added to the Russell 2000, and received a $75 million line of credit from a syndication of banks led by J.P. Morgan.
OSI Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OSIP) recently reported second-quarter earnings per share of 61 cents, which topped the consensus by approximately 17.3%. The result also marked a solid year-over-year improvement. Revenues from continuing operations advanced 21% to $96 million from $79 million. The company attributed the revenue growth to worldwide sales of Tarceva(R), which were up 37%.
Shares of OSIP gained 5.9% last week, placing it on the Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers List. Earnings estimates for this year have improved by 2.3% over the past month, which includes a slight gain in the past seven trading days. Analysts currently expect a 21% increase in EPS next year over this year.
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.