The top 4 clues for hunting tomorrow’s growth stars

Tuesday, Jan 24 2012 by
The top 4 clues for hunting tomorrows growth stars

For many investors, the task of scouring the market for companies that look poised for rapid growth is the holy grail of stock selection. The stocks chosen by growth investors boast an air of anticipation as finding a long term winner can transform the value of the smart investor’s portfolio. But how do you capture a potential ‘tenbagger’ before it gets away from you?

Growth investing has inspired acres of research and writing and elevated a handful of successful investors to near-celebrity status for their screening strategies. Dig deep and you’ll find there are some common themes that lie at the heart of growth stock selection. We highlight the top 4 common themes here.

1. Fast and Persistent Earnings Growth

Studying a company’s historic and projected profitability is a central plank in every growth investing strategy because without earnings it is near impossible to assess or benchmark the growth potential of a stock.

Back in the 1930s, US asset manager T. Rowe Price (known as the father of growth investing) put earnings front and centre of his buying strategy and stipulated long term earnings per share (EPS) growth as a buying requirement, together with forecasts that EPS will continue to grow ahead of inflation. More recently, US investors William O’Neill and Martin Zweig have been among those to adopt the same tactic.

According to O’Neill – whose CANSLIM investing technique and now legendary book “How to Make Money in Stocks” earned wide acclaim in investing circles –winning stocks generally have strong quarterly earnings per share performance prior to their most spectacular price run ups, as well as a history of steady and significant annual earnings. He puts a particular emphasis on the importance of sales growth in his screen and stipulates that sales should be rising by at least 25% year-on-year (or at least accelerating over the last three periods). Considering that O’Neill studied the history of 40 years of the greatest stock market winners these findings are worth noting.

Zweig’s strategy is even more demanding and calls for stocks to pass numerous earnings related criteria. Among them, EPS growth and sales growth should each have grown by at least 20% over the previous four years. And to insulate against more recent wobbles, the EPS should have been accelerating in the most recent quarters.

2. Buy Growth on the Cheap with…

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6 Comments on this Article show/hide all

michael john brown 29th Mar '13 1 of 6

Would like to see DATES OF WHEN ADDED against srocks listed as being in each Guru's portfolio and a list of Ft sectors relative strengths top to bottom and where they were a month before,ie rising or falling,and the same for all stocks so one can pick top stocks in top sectors

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frogtiper 30th Mar '14 2 of 6


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Edward Croft 30th Mar '14 3 of 6

In reply to post #72083

Hi Michael. The qualification dates are already there on all the guru screens at the right of the table. We'll be adding more sector analysis in future releases, but that's likely a 2015 project.

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pippasfan 16th Oct '18 4 of 6

Ben, this is brilliant again. Bearing in mind your study was written some years ago, have your opinions changed, any new findings?

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Warranstar 16th Oct '18 5 of 6

In reply to post #82339

Hi Ed
What date did you actually mean? 2015 doesn't make sense.


OOPS  Sorry, of course your date makes sense because your comment was made in 2014!

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herbie47 16th Oct '18 6 of 6

It's interesting the the William O'Neil CAN-SLIM screen is only selecting 1 UK share and that is a russian oil company. Even in Europe it only has 5 shares selected. Problem I have with that screen is shares are in and out as they go below or over the 50 day MA. It has also been hit hard recently down about 14%.

Yes the dates are there but I don't find them that accurate, some shares go in and out of the screen but this is not indicated by the dates.

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About Ben Hobson

Ben Hobson


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