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Why Serica Energy is a market favourite

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Some shares have withstood recent economic shockwaves better than others - but is Serica Energy (LON:SQZ) one of them?

To understand why different shares respond to chaos in different ways, it pays to look at their strengths. In bull markets, investors gravitate to speculative, unproven growth stocks as a means of achieving the best returns. But these stocks usually collapse first in a crisis.

By contrast, high quality shares often get overlooked in bull markets. But it's these stocks that are often better at keeping their momentum and recovering quickest from periods of volatility.

Shares in Serica Energy are currently trading at 309.5p but a question in the minds of many investors is how the price will respond to the Covid-19 uncertainty.

The answer is that there are some positive signs. The stock scores well against some important financial and technical measures and has exposure to two influential drivers of investment returns: high quality and strong momentum.

So why are these two factors important and where are the clues hidden?

GET MORE DATA-DRIVEN INSIGHTS INTO LON:SQZ »

High quality

When it comes to stock analysis, company quality tends to show up in high profitability and strong industry-leading margins. These kinds of firms are stable, growing and often have accelerating sales and earnings. They also have strong and improving financial histories with no signs of accountancy or bankruptcy risk.

One of the quality metrics for Serica Energy is its 5-year Return on Capital Employed, which is 18.3%. Good, double-digit ROCEs are a pointer to companies that can grow very profitably.

Strong momentum

Positive momentum trends show up in share prices and earnings growth. You can find the clues in stocks that are trading close to their 52 week high prices and outperforming the market. They’ll often be beating broker estimates and getting forecast upgrades and recommendation changes.

This is true at Serica Energy, where the share price has seen a 161.5% return relative to the market over the past 12 months. Market volatility and economic uncertainty can be a major drag on momentum, but previously strong stocks can be quick to recover when confidence returns.

In summary, good quality and momentum are pointers to some of the best stocks on the strongest uptrends. This combination of factors can be a clue to finding shares that can deliver solid investment profits over many years.

In good times, these shares can become expensive to buy. But in volatile markets, there may be chances to buy them at cheaper prices.

What does this mean for potential investors?

Finding good quality stocks with strong momentum behind them is a strategy used by some of the world's most successful investors. But be warned: these factors don't guarantee future returns and we've identified some areas of concern with Serica Energy that you can find out about here.

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