Identifying stocks that offer healthy returns may sometimes prove to be difficult for investors. In that case, one may take into account liquidity levels, which are considered a good indicator of a company’s financial health.
Liquidity is a measure of a company’s capability to meet its short-term debt obligations.
However, high liquidity may also suggest a company’s inefficiency in utilizing its assets properly. Thus, impressive liquidity positions and favorable efficiency levels imply a stock’s solid financial health.
Measures to Identify Liquid Stocks
Current Ratio: It measures current assets relative to current liabilities. This ratio is used for measuring a company’s potential to meet both short- and long-term debt obligations. Thus, a current ratio — also known as working capital ratio — below 1 indicates that the company has more liabilities than assets. However, a high current ratio does not always indicate that the company is in good financial shape. It may also mean that the company has failed to utilize its assets significantly. Hence, a range of 1 to 3 is considered ideal.
Quick Ratio: Unlike current ratio, quick ratio — also called “acid-test ratio" or "quick assets ratio" — indicates a company’s ability to pay short-term obligations. It considers inventory excluding current assets relative to current liabilities. Like the current ratio, a quick ratio of greater than 1 is desirable.
Cash Ratio: This is the most conservative ratio among the three, as it takes into account only cash and cash equivalents, and invested funds relative to current liabilities. It measures a company’s ability to meet its current debt obligations using the most liquid of assets. Though a cash ratio of more than 1 may point to sound financials, a higher number may indicate inefficiency in cash utilization.
So, a ratio greater than 1 is desirable at all times but may not always appropriately represent a company’s financial condition.
In order to pick the best of the lot, we have added asset utilization, which is a widely used measure of a company’s efficiency, as one of the screening criteria. Asset utilization is the ratio of total sales over the past 12 months to the last four-quarter average of total assets. Though this ratio varies across industries, companies with a ratio higher than their respective industries can be considered efficient.
In order to ensure that these liquid and efficient stocks have solid growth potential, we have added our proprietary Growth Style Score to the screen.
Current Ratio, Quick Ratio and Cash Ratio between 1 and 3 (While liquidity ratios of greater than 1 are desirable, significantly high ratios may indicate inefficiency.)
Asset utilization greater than industry average (Higher asset utilization than the industry average indicates a company’s efficiency.)
Zacks Rank equal to #1 (Only Strong Buy-rated stocks can get through). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Growth Score less than or equal to B (Back-tested results show that stocks with a Growth Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 handily beat other stocks.)
These criteria have narrowed down the universe of more than 7,700 stocks to only 15.
Here are five of the 15 stocks that qualified the screen:
Based in Foster City, CA, Qualys, Inc. QLYS is a provider of cloud-based security and compliance solutions across the globe. The company has a Growth Score of A and average four-quarter positive surprise of 21.43%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 earnings has been revised 2 cents upward to $2.28 in the past 30 days.
Headquartered in Evansville, IN, Shoe Carnival, Inc. SCVL offers men, women and children a broad assortment of moderately priced dress, casual and athletic footwear with emphasis on national and regional brands. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2020 bottom line has moved 3.6% north to $2.88 in the past 30 days. The company has a Growth Score of A and average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 11.54%.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, Fortinet Inc. FTNT is a provider of network security appliances and Unified Threat Management (UTM) network security solutions to enterprises, service providers and government entities worldwide. The company has a Growth Score of B and average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 18.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 earnings of $2.41 has been raised 2.6% in the past 30 days.
Domiciled in San Francisco, CA, Zendesk ZEN) is a software-as-a-service company focused on customer service and engagement, offering an array of products and services. The company has an impressive Growth Score of A and average four-quarter beat of 100%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate of 32 cents for 2019 has moved by a penny north over the past 30 days.
Tinton Falls, NJ-based Commvault Systems, Inc. CVLT is a provider of Unified Data Management solutions for data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. The company has a Growth Score of B and average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 14.91%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2020 earnings of $1.48 has been steady over the past 30 days.
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Fortinet, Inc. (FTNT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Qualys, Inc. (QLYS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Zendesk, Inc. (ZEN) : Free Stock Analysis Report
CommVault Systems, Inc. (CVLT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
Shoe Carnival, Inc. (SCVL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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