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 Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU) is currently -3.84. 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, 13 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 Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU), we can see that the most recent level is sitting at 1.74. This EPS projection uses 5 Sell-Side analysts polled by Zacks Research. For the previous reported quarter, the company posted a quarterly EPS of 1.82. 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 Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU), we note that shares are trading near the 109.32 level. Investors will often follow stock price levels in relation to the 52-week high and low levels. The 52-week high is presently 177.2, and the 52-week low is sitting at 109.32. 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 -38.02%. Heading further back to the start of the year, we note that shares have seen a change of -28.67%. Focusing in closer to the last 4 weeks, shares have seen a change of 0.61835%. Over the past five trading days, the stock has changed 156%.
Even though the stock market has been cranking along and touching record highs, there are bound to be some rough patches in the near future. Some investors may actually welcome a pullback in order to scoop up some stocks at a relative discount. Investors who are on top of things are most likely ready to spring when the next big buying opportunity pops up. Being prepared for a buying opportunity can make the process much easier when the time comes. As investors look ahead to the next round of company earnings reports, the focus may gravitate to those companies that have positioned themselves for sustained future growth. Many investors will be closely monitoring which companies outperform by the largest margin after earnings results are released.