Analysts often provide buy/sell/hold recommendations for companies that they cover. Investors have the ability to follow these sell-side ratings in order to assist with stock analysis. Wall Street analyst ratings may have various interpretations. According to analysts taken into consideration by Zacks Research, the current average broker recommendation on shares of Home BancShares, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOMB) is currently 2.29. This rating lands on a scale between 1 and 5. Following this scale, a rating of 1 would indicate a Strong Buy, and a rating of 5 would indicate a Strong Sell recommendation. Out of all the analysts providing ratings, 3 have rated the stock a Strong Buy or Buy, according to Zacks Research.
Some investors may be lamenting the fact that they have not taken full advantage of the long bull run. There are plenty of pundits that are calling for a sharp stock market decline, but there are also many who believe that the ceiling has been raised and there is much more room for stocks to go higher. Getting into the market at these levels may be holding some investors back from jumping into the fray, and nobody can be sure which way the momentum will swing as we near the end of the year. The next round of company earnings reports should provide some good information about future prospects. Investors will be closely watching to see which sectors are running at full speed and which ones are lagging.
Taking a quick look at the current quarter EPS consensus estimate for Home BancShares, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOMB), we can see that the most recent level is sitting at 0.4. This EPS projection uses 2 Sell-Side analysts polled by Zacks Research. For the previous reported quarter, the company posted a quarterly EPS of 0.32. Covering analysts have the tough job of following companies and offering future estimates. These estimates are often closely followed on the Street, and earnings beats or misses revolve around these projections. Sometimes these predictions are extremely close to the actual reported number, and other times they may be way off. When a company posts actual earnings numbers, the surprise factor can lead to sudden stock price fluctuations. If a company meets and beats estimates and posts a positive earnings surprise, the stock may see a near-term bump. On the other end, a negative surprise may send the stock in the opposite direction. Many investors will choose to trade with caution around earnings releases and wait to make a move until after the major activity has subsided.
Zooming in on recent stock price action for Home BancShares, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOMB), we note that shares are trading near the 24.72 level. Investors will often follow stock price levels in relation to the 52-week high and low levels. The 52-week high is presently 29.45, and the 52-week low is sitting at 21.22. When a stock price is getting close to either the 52-week high or 52-week low, investors may track activity to watch for a move past the established mark. Over the last 12 weeks, shares have seen a change of -0.96%. Heading further back to the start of the year, we note that shares have seen a change of 6.32%. Focusing in closer to the last 4 weeks, shares have seen a change of 9.62%. Over the past five trading days, the stock has changed 6.92%.
Serious investors are often looking for that next batch of quality stocks to add to the portfolio. Finding quality stocks at a discount can be a tough task, especially with the market trading at such high levels. Many investors will be patiently waiting for a dip to get in on some researched names. Being prepared for any situation may help the investor make those tricky decisions when opportunities present themselves. Nobody can say for sure which way momentum is likely to swing heading into the New Year. Staying on top of the key economic data can help provide a good baseline for stock investing decisions in the near future.