In the first quarter of 2022, all the major benchmark indexes witnessed their biggest quarterly losses in two years, owing to multi-decade high inflation and the Fed's intention to curb it with possible interest rate hikes later this year after the first hike in March.
The Ukraine- Russia war also strained the stock market as it worsened the ongoing supply chain disruptions and led to high energy prices. Last month, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) rose about 25 points, or roughly 43%, to a record high of 82.69, exceeding the highest level of 80.74 on November 21, 2008. Amid the current scenario, it could be wise to invest in stocks that are resilient to market fluctuations, exhibit solid growth prospects, and tend to outperform during economic downturns.
That’s why today we're highlighting 3 exciting stocks from our Top 10 Safest screen, which is just 1 of the 10 screens in our POWR Screens 10 service (more on that below). Albertsons Companies, Inc. (ACI), FONAR Corporation (FONR), and Hackett Group, Inc. (HCKT) could be great additions to your portfolio owing to their solid growth attributes and stability compared to the broader market. These stocks are also rated a 'Strong Buy' in our proprietary POWR Ratings system.
Albertsons Companies, Inc. (ACI)
ACI and its subsidiaries are engaged in operating food and drug stores in the United States. The company's food and retail drug stores offer grocery products, general merchandise, health and beauty care products, pharmacy, fuel, and other items and services.
Last month, Cue Health Inc. (HLTH), a healthcare technology company, and ACI announced a first-of-its-kind partnership that provides customers access to Cue's highly accurate, convenient, and fast molecular COVID-19 tests at participating ACI pharmacies across the country. This new service provided by pharmacy personnel will allow customers to get Cue's lab-quality COVID-19 test results delivered to their email in 20 minutes.
For the third quarter ended December 4, 2021, ACI's net sales and other revenue increased 8.6% year-over-year to $16.73 billion. The operating income grew 132% from its year-ago value to $599.6 million, while its net income improved 243.2% from its prior-year quarter to $424.5 million. The company's EPS amounted to $0.74, up 270% year-over-year.
Analysts expect ACI's revenue to increase 6.8% year-over-year to $16.84 billion during the fourth quarter ending February 2022. The consensus EPS estimate of $0.52 for the second quarter ending August 2022 represents a 0.9% improvement year-over-year. Moreover, it has an impressive earnings history as it surpassed the consensus EPS estimate in three of the trailing four quarters.
ACI’s 24-month beta of 0.27 indicates its stability compared to the broader market. The stock has gained 87.9% over the past year and 79.9% over the past nine months.
ACI's POWR Ratings reflect this promising outlook. The company has an overall rating of A, which translates to Strong Buy in our proprietary rating system. The POWR Ratings assess stocks by 118 different factors, each with its own weighting.
The stock also has an A grade for Growth and a B for Sentiment and Quality. Within the A-rated Grocery/Big Box Retailers industry, it is ranked #1 of 39 stocks. To see additional POWR Ratings for Value, Stability, and Momentum for ACI, click here.
FONAR Corporation (FONR)
FONR engages in the research, development, production, and marketing of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners to detect and diagnose human diseases in the United States. The company operates through the Medical Equipment segment and the Physician Management and Diagnostic services segment.
FONR's revenue increased 15.7% year-over-year to $24.48 million in the second quarter ended December 31, 2021. The income from operation grew 30.1% year-over-year to $6.48 million, while its net income attributable to FONR increased 29.2% from its year-ago value to $4.02 million. The company's EPS rose 29.5% from its prior-year quarter to $0.57.
The stock has soared 26.3% year-to-date and 19.8% over the past six months. FONR has a 24-month beta of 0.69, indicating its strong resilience to the broader market fluctuations.
It is no surprise that FONR has an overall A rating, which equates to Strong Buy in our POWR Ratings system. FONR has an A grade for Stability and a B grade for Growth and Value. Among the 161 stocks in the Medical - Devices & Equipment Industry, it is ranked #1.
Click here to see the additional POWR Ratings for FONR (Momentum, Quality, and Sentiment).
Hackett Group, Inc. (HCKT)
HCKT primarily functions as a strategic advisory and technology consulting firm internationally. It provides a best practice intelligence center, an online searchable repository; best practice accelerators that provide web-based access to best practices, customized software configuration tools, best practice process flows; advisor inquiry for access to fact-based advice on proven approaches and methods.
HCKT's total revenue from continuing operations increased 18.5% year-over-year to $70.23 million during the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2021. The income from operations grew 708.1% from its year-ago value to $12 million, while its net income increased 1750.1% from its prior-year quarter to $16.52 million. The company's EPS improved 1566.7% year-over-year to $0.50.
Analysts expect HCKT's revenue to increase 12.7% year-over-year to $71.56 million for the first quarter ending March 2022. The consensus EPS estimate of $0.32 during the first quarter ending March 2022 represents a 17.3% improvement year-over-year. In addition, it has an impressive earnings history as it surpassed the consensus EPS estimate in all of the trailing four quarters.
HCKT’s 60-month beta of 0.66 indicates that it's stable compared to the broader market. The company's shares have surged 31.4% over the past year and 34.1% over the past nine months.
It is no surprise that HCKT has an overall A rating, which equates to Strong Buy in our POWR Ratings system. HCKT has an A grade for Sentiment and Quality and a B grade for Stability. Among the ten stocks in the A-rated Outsourcing - Tech Services Industry, it is ranked #1.
Click here to see the additional POWR Ratings for HCKT (Growth, Value, and Momentum).
Want more stocks like these?
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ACI shares were trading at $35.19 per share on Monday afternoon, down $0.09 (-0.26%). Year-to-date, ACI has gained 17.06%, versus a -6.67% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.
About the Author: Spandan Khandelwal
Spandan's is a financial journalist and investment analyst focused on the stock market. With her ability to interpret financial data, she aims to help investors evaluate the fundamentals of a company before investing.3 Safe Stocks to Invest in This Month appeared first on StockNews.com