Azenta Inc., Coterra Energy Inc., and First Solar Inc. are the top performers in the Russell 1000 Index for value, growth, and momentum, respectively. The index tracks the 1,000 largest companies by market capitalization in the U.S.
Life sciences company Azenta's shares fell almost 17% in early February after it said revenue for the most recent quarter missed analyst estimates and offered disappointing guidance. Analysts are looking for growth to pick up and cost-cutting measures to take effect in the second half of the year.
Coterra, the product of the 2021 merger of two energy exploration and production companies, posted rising revenue and profits last year thanks to that merger and rising energy prices.
First Solar's stock received a boost from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which includes tax credits for residential and commercial solar installation.
These stocks are leading their categories at a time when the Russell 1000 Index has lost about a tenth of its value. Many companies in the index are grappling with a slowing economy, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and a series of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.
Below, we list the top five stocks in each category: value, growth, and momentum. These rankings are based on an Investopedia analysis of YCharts data. All company data are as of Feb. 21, while index data are as of Feb. 28.
Best Value Stocks
Value investing is a factor-based investing strategy that involves picking stocks that you believe are trading for less than what they are intrinsically worth, usually measured by the ratio of the stock’s price to one or more fundamental business metrics. A widely accepted value metric is the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Value investors say that if a business is cheap compared with its intrinsic value (as measured by its P/E ratio, in this case), then the stock price may rise faster than others' as the price comes back in line with the worth of the company. These are among the stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing P/E ratio.
|Best Value Stocks|
|?||Price ($)||Market Cap ($B)||12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio|
|Azenta Inc. (AZTA)||45.00||3.1||1.6|
|Altice USA Inc. (ATUS)||4.14||1.9||2.9|
|Ovintiv Inc. (OVV)||42.81||10.6||3.0|
|United States Steel Corp. (X)||28.34||6.4||3.2|
|PDC Energy Inc. (PDCE)||61.70||5.9||3.2|
- Azenta Inc.: A life sciences company providing sample management and genomic services including drug development, material storage, and clinical trial oversight. Its customers include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and life sciences research companies. On Feb. 27, Azenta announced the launch of Cryo Store Pico, a cryogenic storage system for life sciences materials.
- Altice USA Inc.: A telecommunication and media company, Altice provides digital cable television, broadband, video, internet, and related products to customers in the U.S.
- Ovintiv Inc.: Ovintiv is an oil and natural gas exploration and production company with operations in the U.S. and Canada. Net earnings before income tax for the fourth quarter of 2022 were about 20% lower than for the prior-year quarter.
- U.S. Steel Corp.: U.S. Steel makes high-value-added steel products, including its XG3 advanced high-strength steel, which is used by automakers to produce lighter-weight vehicles. The company serves the automotive, construction, appliance, energy, containers, and packaging industries and has operations in the U.S. and Central Europe.
- PDC Energy Inc.: PDC is an oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and production company. Its primary operations are in Colorado and West Texas. In February the company announced that it would increase its share buyback authorization to $2 billion from $1.25 billion.
These are the top stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly year-on-year (YOY) percentage revenue growth and their most recent quarterly YOY earnings per share (EPS) growth.
Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Therefore, ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs) that may make one or the other figure unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of more than 2,500% were excluded as outliers.
|?||Price ($)||Market Cap ($B)||EPS Growth Latest Quarter (%)||Revenue Growth Latest Quarter (%)|
|Coterra Energy Inc. (CTRA)||23.00||18.1||837.5||472.7|
|Copa Holdings SA (CPA)||91.76||3.6||1,442.1||81.9|
|DTE Energy Co. (DTE)||113.24||21.9||1,430.8||41.3|
|GlobalFoundries Inc. (GFS)||63.11||34.4||1,412.5||13.7|
|Aptiv PLC (APTV)||116.30||31.5||1,333.3||12.2|
- Coterra Energy: Coterra is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations focused in the Permian and Anadarko basins and the Marcellus Shale. Its core position includes 307,000 net acres.
- Copa Holdings SA: Copa Holdings is a Panamanian provider of airline passenger and cargo services. The company provides scheduled flights to countries in North, Central, and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
- DTE Energy Co.: DTE Energy is a utility that generates, sells, and distributes electricity and gas in Michigan. It operates other businesses involved in energy trading, industrial projects, and transportation, and serves 2.3 million electric customers and 1.3 million natural gas customers.
- GlobalFoundries Inc.: GlobalFoundries is a semiconductor contract manufacturing and design firm providing products for the automotive and tech industries. For the final quarter of 2022, GlobalFoundries reported an increase in net income of more than 1,400% as revenue climbed by 14%. Results were impacted by a $406-million sale of a facility in New York state in December.
- Aptiv PLC: Aptiv is an Irish-American mobility technology company serving the automotive industry. It employs over 200,000 people in 48 countries around the world. Aptiv's net income increased almost 7-fold year-over-year in the most recent quarter.
Stocks With the Most Momentum
Momentum investing is a factor-based investing strategy that involves buying a stock whose price has risen faster than the market as a whole. Momentum investors believe that stocks that have outperformed the market will often continue to do so because the factors that caused them to outperform will not suddenly disappear.
In addition, other investors seeking to benefit from the stock’s outperformance will often purchase it, further bidding its price higher. These are the stocks that had the highest total return over the past 12 months.
|Stocks With the Most Momentum|
|?||Price ($)||Market Cap ($B)||12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)|
|First Solar Inc. (FSLR)||160.99||17.2||134.8|
|Signify Health Inc. (SGFY)||28.60||6.7||125.4|
|Oak Street Health Inc. (OSH)||35.30||8.6||124.1|
|Steel Dynamics Inc. (STLD)||121.78||21.4||93.8|
|Texas Pacific Land Corp. (TPL)||1,799.99||13.9||82.3|
- First Solar Inc.: First Solar designs and manufactures photovoltaic solar power systems and solar modules. It serves customers around the world. The firm announced in January that it had completed the sale of its Luz del Norte solar power plant facility in Chile to Toesca, an independent asset manager, for an undisclosed sum.
- Signify Health Inc.: Signify offers healthcare payment programs to governments, employers, health systems, health plans, and physicians to millions of people. Its major customers include the U.S. government's Medicare program. The company announced in September that it would be acquired by CVS Health for about $8 billion, with the transaction expected to close early in 2023.
- Oak Street Health Inc.: Oak Street operates primary care centers throughout the U.S. for customers on Medicare. CVS Health announced in February that it would acquire Oak Street for about $10.6 billion.
- Steel Dynamics Inc.: A carbon-steel producer and metals recycler. The company sells flat-rolled steel sheet, structural beams, steel bars, and other products.
- Texas Pacific Land Corp.: A landowner in Texas that generates revenue from property sales, oil and gas royalties, grazing leases, and other ventures. The company owns roughly 880,000 acres of land as well as various royalty interests.
Top Stock Investing Advantages
To become a top stock, a company most likely produces positive trends in its earnings, revenue, and share price. Momentum in these areas indicates a well-run business that has the potential to keep generating a profit and to create shareholder value.
Investors can use free stock screening sites like Finviz to find top stocks, filtering by both fundamental and technical momentum. For example, a trader could find a top stock by scanning for companies that are trading at a new 52-week high or that have grown their earnings consistently over the past five years.
Top stocks typically receive extensive media coverage and are followed by leading Wall Street analysts. This usually means more liquidity in the order book, leading to better prices and faster trade executions. Moreover, top stocks with ample liquidity are more difficult for larger players to manipulate, helping to keep a fair and orderly market.
Top Stock Investing Risks
Investing only in top large-cap stocks means that investors may miss profitable opportunities in other areas of the stock market. Some of the most significant gains come from small-cap stocks under the radar. For example, an unknown small biotechnology company may announce a breakthrough discovery that propels its share price higher. Even if investors favor trading top stocks, allocating a portion of capital to other stock groups helps avoid missing compelling opportunities.
The trend is your friend—until it's not. Even large-cap top stocks with a track record of earnings growth and creating shareholder value encounter unforeseen challenges. For example, cruise line companies, such as Carnival Corp. (CCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), reported increased revenue in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic but watched their top line sink to unprecedented lows for several years due to no-sail orders and a collapse in passenger demand.
When investing in top stocks, investors should always use a stop-loss order to protect against sudden trend reversals.
The comments, opinions, and analyses expressed herein are for informational purposes only and should not be considered individual investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or adopt any investment strategy. Though we believe the information provided herein is reliable, we do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. The views and strategies described in our content may not be suitable for all investors. Because market and economic conditions are subject to rapid change, all comments, opinions, and analyses contained within our content are rendered as of the date of the posting and may change without notice. The material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry, investment, or strategy.
YCharts. “Financial Data.”
Yahoo! Finance. "Analysts Says Azenta Could See Recovery, Stock Likely Rangebound."
U.S. Energy Information Administration. "Today in Energy."
Coterra Energy Inc. "Our Portfolio."
Barron's. "First Solar Stock Scores as U.S. Pushes for Clean Power. Why It Just Got a Downgrade."
MarketWatch. "The Stock Market Is Sliding Because Investors Fear Recession More Than Inflation."
AP News. "Fed Raises Key Rate by Half-Point and Signals More to Come."
YCharts. “Financial Data.”
YCharts. “Financial Data.”
Azenta Inc. "Azenta Launches Cryo Store Pico?, a Novel Automated Cryogenic Storage System Designed for Clinical and Laboratory Applications."
Ovintiv Inc. "Ovintiv Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-end 2022 Financial and Operating Results."
U.S. Steel Corp. "Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended Dec. 31, 2021."
PDC Energy Inc. "PDC Energy Declares Increased Quarterly Cash Dividend on Common Shares and Announces $750 Million Increase to Share Buyback Authorization."
DTE Energy Co. "Corporate Overview."
GlobalFoundries Inc. "GlobalFoundries Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2022 Financial Results."
Aptiv PLC. "About Aptiv."
Aptiv PLC. "Aptiv Reports Fourth Quarter 2022 Financial Results."
First Solar Inc. "First Solar Completes Sale of 141 MW Luz del Norte Power Plant to Toesca."
Signify Health Inc. "CVS Health to Acquire Signify Health."
CVS Health Corp. "CVS Health to acquire Oak Street Health."
Texas Pacific Land Corp. "Surface Acreage."
Macrotrends. "Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Revenue 2011-2022 | NCLH."
Macrotrends. "Carnival Revenue 2010-2022 | CCL."
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