The liquidity of a company often indicates whether its business is going in a profitable direction. It primarily indicates a company’s capability to meet debt obligations by converting its assets into liquid cash and equivalents. These stocks have always been in demand due to their potential to provide maximum returns.
However, one should exercise caution before investing in such stocks. While a high liquidity level may imply that the company is meeting its obligations at a faster rate than its peers, it may also indicate that the company is failing to use its assets efficiently.
Hence, one may consider the efficiency level of a company in addition to its liquidity to identify potential winners.
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 higher 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.)
Growth Style Score less than or equal to B (Back-tested results show that stocks with a Growth Style 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 over 7,700 stocks to only 13.
Here are six of the 13 stocks that qualified the screen:
Best-Ranked Liquid Stocks for Impressive Returns: Lam Research Corporation (LRCX)
Based in Fremont, CA, Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX) supplies wafer fabrication equipment and services to the semiconductor industry. The company has a Growth Score of A and delivered an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 9.07%.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2018 earnings is pegged at $17.54, up 4.65% over the last 30 days.
Best-Ranked Liquid Stocks for Impressive Returns: Mellanox Technologies, Ltd. (MLNX)
Sunnyvale, CA-based Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ:MLNX) is a leading supplier of semiconductor-based, interconnect products to world-class server, storage, and infrastructure OEMs servicing Fortune 500 data centers, the world’s most powerful supercomputers, and mission critical embedded applications.
The company has a Growth Score of A and delivered an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 12.98%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2018 earnings grew 10.3% to $4.07 over the last 30 days.
Best-Ranked Liquid Stocks for Impressive Returns: Logitech International SA (LOGI)
Switzerland-based Logitech International SA (NASDAQ:LOGI) is a global leader in peripherals for personal computers and other digital platforms, which develops and markets innovative products for PC navigation, Internet communications, digital music, home-entertainment control, video security, interactive gaming and wireless devices.
The company has a Growth Score of A and delivered an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 14.84%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2019 earnings of $1.79 increased 4 cents over the last 30 days.
Best-Ranked Liquid Stocks for Impressive Returns: Amtech Systems, Inc. (ASYS)
Tempe, AZ-based Amtech Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASYS) manufactures and sells capital equipment and related consumables for use in fabricating solar cells, LED and semiconductor devices.
The company has a Growth Score of B and delivered an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 400.51%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2018 earnings improved 22% to 61 cents over the last 30 days.
Best-Ranked Liquid Stocks for Impressive Returns: Cadence Design Systems Inc (CDNS)
Based in San Jose, CA, Cadence Design Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CDNS) offers products and tools that help customers to design electronic products.
Through System Design Enablement (SDE) strategy, the company offers software, hardware, services and reusable IC design blocks (IPs) to electronic systems and semiconductor customers. The company has a Growth Score of B and an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 2.81%.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 earnings increased 3.82% to $1.63 per share over the last 30 days.
Best-Ranked Liquid Stocks for Impressive Returns: Citrix Systems, Inc. (CTXS)
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leading provider of virtualization, networking and cloud computing solutions to more than 230,000 organizations worldwide.
The company has a Growth Score of B and delivered an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 11.99%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2018 earnings of $5.27 per share rose 8.21% over the last 30 days.
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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.
Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.
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