As the next earnings season comes into focus, investors will be watching to see which companies surpass expectations. Many investors consider earnings performance to be one of the most important factors when deciding which stocks to choose. When quarterly earnings numbers are released, the investing community closely watches to see if a company beats or misses projections. Tracking some earnings projections, we note that the current quarter EPS consensus estimate for Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (NASDAQ:CTSH) is 1.15. This EPS estimate is using data provided by 9 sell-side analysts polled by Zacks Research. For the last quarter, the company reported a quarterly EPS of 1.19. Because earnings surprises may cause the stock price to rise or fall drastically in the short term, investors may choose to make the buy/sell decisions after the smoke has cleared.

When conducting stock research, some investors will choose to start from the top-down while others may choose to begin from the bottom-up. Starting from the top-down typically includes studying the overall economy, industries, and multiple markets. Stocks tend to perform differently at certain points in economic cycles. Figuring out where the economy is can help find the sectors that will outperform. Once specific sectors are identified, investors might be able to then select certain stocks within those sectors. Investors who start with from the bottom-up may start by analyzing individual stocks first. This may include looking for stocks that are undervalued in relation to the perceived value of the company. Many investors will use a combination of both styles when undertaking detailed stock research.

In the fast paced world of stock market investing, individuals are always looking for information to help provide an edge. Many investors will study sell-side analyst opinions to help assist with navigating the market. Turning the attention to shares of Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (NASDAQ:CTSH), we can see that the current average broker rating is now 2. This rating is provided by Zacks Research using a scale from 1 to 5. Following this scale, a 1 would indicate a Strong Buy and a 5 would represent a Strong Sell rating. Digging a little deeper, we can see that out of the polled analysts, 11 rated the stock a Strong Buy or Buy. This average broker rating may help investors decide if they feel the same way about the stock as the professionals.

Investors might be trying to gauge which way shares of Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (NASDAQ:CTSH) will swing over the next couple of quarters. In recent trading activity, the stock has been seen near the $63.7 level. Many investors pay increased attention to shares when they are nearing notable historical highs or lows. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has touched a high price of 84.83, and seen a low price of 60.02. Looking at some additional historical stock price information, we note that shares have seen a move -9.38% over the previous 12 weeks. If we pull in closer to look at performance over the past month, we see that shares have seen a change of -8.21%. Over the last 5 trading sessions, the stock has moved 0.98%. Investors will most likely be keeping their eyes peeled to see how the stock performs heading into the next round of earnings reports.

Investors are often faced with difficult decisions when trading the equity market. Sometimes, the decision to sell a certain stock may be just as important as the decision to buy the stock in the first place. Individual investors may have done the research, had some good fortune, and are now dealing with a big winner in the portfolio. Even though a stock has had a big run, it may be time to unload and take some profits. Holding on to a winner too long can eat into profits that may have been better spent getting into another promising name. On the flip side, investors may have trouble letting go of an underperforming portfolio loser. The emotional attachment to a stock can cause the investor to hold onto a stock for way too long. Maybe the stock was thoroughly researched, but it just keeps going lower. Being able to cut the ties instead of waiting for a bounce back may be beneficial for portfolio health in the long run.

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