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Is Edwards Lifesciences (EW) a Solid Growth Stock? 3 Reasons to Think " Yes "

Zacks Equity Research

Investors seek growth stocks to capitalize on above-average growth in financials that help these securities grab the market's attention and produce exceptional returns. But finding a great growth stock is not easy at all.

That's because, these stocks usually carry above-average risk and volatility. In fact, betting on a stock for which the growth story is actually over or nearing its end could lead to significant loss.

However, the task of finding cutting-edge growth stocks is made easy with the help of the Zacks Growth Style Score (part of the Zacks Style Scores system), which looks beyond the traditional growth attributes to analyze a company's real growth prospects.

Our proprietary system currently recommends Edwards Lifesciences (EW) as one such stock. This company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank.

Studies have shown that stocks with the best growth features consistently outperform the market. And for stocks that have a combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy), returns are even better.

While there are numerous reasons why the stock of this medical device maker is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:

Earnings Growth

Arguably nothing is more important than earnings growth, as surging profit levels is what most investors are after. And for growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is definitely preferable, and often an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.

While the historical EPS growth rate for Edwards Lifesciences is 26.2%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 18.6% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 13.7%.

Cash Flow Growth

While cash is the lifeblood of any business, higher-than-average cash flow growth is more important and beneficial for growth-oriented companies than for mature companies. That's because, growth in cash flow enables these companies to expand their businesses without depending on expensive outside funds.

Right now, year-over-year cash flow growth for Edwards Lifesciences is 20%, which is higher than many of its peers. In fact, the rate compares to the industry average of 9.8%.

While investors should actually consider the current cash flow growth, it's worth taking a look at the historical rate too for putting the current reading into proper perspective. The company's annualized cash flow growth rate has been 20.9% over the past 3-5 years versus the industry average of 7.9%.

Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions

Superiority of a stock in terms of the metrics outlined above can be further validated by looking at the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is of course favorable here. Empirical research shows that there is a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.

The current-year earnings estimates for Edwards Lifesciences have been revising upward. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 4.9% over the past month.

Bottom Line

While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Edwards Lifesciences a Zacks Rank #2 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of B based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above.

You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

This combination indicates that Edwards Lifesciences is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.


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