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5 Toxic Stocks to Abandon or Sell Short for Gains

Zacks

Investors who can precisely differentiate between overpriced stocks and fairly priced stocks emerge winners. However, in this complicated market place, these two types of stocks are intertwined in such a way that it is very tough to identify them. Investors who can pick the toxic stocks appropriately and abandon them at the right time are likely to benefit.

Generally, the overblown toxic stocks are susceptible to outside shocks and are loaded with high levels of debts. Also, the price of the toxic stocks is unrealistically high. The irrationally inflated price of the toxic stocks is only short-lived in nature as their intrinsic value falls short of the current hyped price.

The overhyped price of toxic stocks can be attributed to either an irrational exuberance associated with them or some fundamental drawbacks associated with the stock. Owning such stocks for a long period of time is detrimental and may lead to huge erosion of wealth.

On the other side, investors may gain from the accurate identification of toxic stocks with the help of an investing strategy called short selling. This strategy allows you to sell a stock first and then buy it when the price falls.

While short selling excels in bear markets, it typically loses money in bull markets.

So, figuring out toxic stocks and discarding them at the right time is the key to protect your portfolio from big losses. Profits can be made by short selling them.

Screening Criteria

Here is a winning strategy that will help you to identify overpriced toxic stocks:

Most recent Debt/Equity Ratio greater than the median industry average: High debt/equity ratio implies high leverage. High leverage indicates a huge level of repayment that the company has to make in connection with the debt amount.

P/E using 12-month forward EPS estimate greater than 50: A very high forward P/E implies that a stock is highly overvalued.

% Change in F (1) and F (2) Estimate (12 Weeks) less than -5: Negative EPS estimate revision for this and the next fiscal year during the past 12 weeks points to analysts’ pessimism.

Zacks Rank more than or equal to #3 (Hold): We have not considered Buy-rated stocks that generally outperform the market.

Here are five of the 20 toxic stocks that showed up on the screen:

PTC Inc. PTC is a Needham, MA-based software company engaged in developing, marketing and supporting software solutions. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current quarter earnings remained unchanged at 37 cents. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Leawood, KS-based AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. AMC is engaged in the theatrical exhibition business. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current quarter loss widened from 25 cents per share to 28 cents. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #3.

Wilmington, DE-based Incyte Corporation INCY is a drug discovery company. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current quarter earnings rose 50% to 3 cents per share. Incyte carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Houston, TX-based Apache Corporation APA is engaged in exploration, development and production of natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current quarter declined from earnings of 2 cents to a loss of a penny per share. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #3.

Carbonite, Inc. CARB is a Boston, MA-based computer services company engaged in providing cloud backup and restore solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Over the past month, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for current quarter earnings remained unchanged at 21 cents per share. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #3.

Get the rest of the stocks on the list and start putting this and other ideas to the test. It can all be done with the Research Wizard stock picking and backtesting software.

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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.

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