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Is Walmart (WMT) a Solid Growth Stock? 3 Reasons to Think "Yes"

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 growth stock that can live up to its true potential can be a tough task.

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 Walmart (WMT) as one such stock. This company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank.

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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.

Here are three of the most important factors that make the stock of this world's largest retailer a great growth pick right now.

Earnings Growth

Earnings growth is arguably the most important factor, as stocks exhibiting exceptionally surging profit levels tend to attract the attention of most investors. For growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is highly preferable, as it is often perceived as an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.

While the historical EPS growth rate for Walmart is 7.4%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 9.3% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 5.8%.

Impressive Asset Utilization Ratio

Asset utilization ratio -- also known as sales-to-total-assets (S/TA) ratio -- is often overlooked by investors, but it is an important indicator in growth investing. This metric shows how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.

Right now, Walmart has an S/TA ratio of 2.58, which means that the company gets $2.58 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 2.39, it can be said that the company is more efficient.

In addition to efficiency in generating sales, sales growth plays an important role. And Walmart is well positioned from a sales growth perspective too. The company's sales are expected to grow 4.2% this year versus the industry average of 1.7%.

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.

There have been upward revisions in current-year earnings estimates for Walmart. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 0.1% over the past month.

Bottom Line

Walmart has not only earned a Growth Score of B based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above, but it also carries a Zacks Rank #2 because of the positive earnings estimate revisions.

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

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

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

Walmart Inc. (WMT) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research