Investors might be trying to gauge which way shares of Encore Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ECPG) will swing over the next couple of quarters. In recent trading activity, the stock has been seen near the $36.19 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 40.5, and seen a low price of 21.66. Looking at some additional historical stock price information, we note that shares have seen a move 29.71% 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 5.76%. Over the last 5 trading sessions, the stock has moved 3.67%. Investors will most likely be keeping their eyes peeled to see how the stock performs heading into the next round of earnings reports.

Sharp investors typically realize that stock returns can fluctuate, and the periods of extreme ups and downs can sometimes be quite long. It can be very difficult to predict when a big market downturn will occur. However, investors who have a plan in place will often find themselves in a better position than those who do not. Investors following an individual plan can include some preparation for the unknown. The plan may involve specific criteria, and it may be uniquely tailored to suit the individual’s goals. When markets get choppy, it can be tempting for the individual investor to go into survival mode. Some of the best stock buying opportunities will present themselves during a lengthy period of decline. Being ready to pounce on these opportunities might end up being a huge benefit to the investor when the time comes.

Following some earnings data for Encore Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ECPG), we note that the current quarter EPS consensus estimate is 1.31. This EPS estimate is using data provided by 5 sell-side analysts polled by Zacks Research. This consensus estimate may vary from other data outlets providing consensus projections. Last quarter, the company reported a quarterly EPS of 1.46. Investors often pay extra close to the actual numbers when they are reported. If the actual comes in way under what the analysts were predicting, investors might want to take a deeper look to see what is going on with the stock. Investors may also be on the lookout for positive surprises on earnings beats. When a company reports actual earnings results, the surprise factor may cause the stock price to move sharply in either direction. Because it is difficult to gauge how a stock will react after the earnings report, investors may trade with increased caution during this period of time.

Investors tracking shares of Encore Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ECPG) may be closely following analyst price target estimates. Reviewing company shares, we can see that the current average target price is 41.33. Keeping track of all the day to day stock market happenings can sometimes be a burden, even for the most seasoned investors. Investors may use sell-side analyst target estimates to help figure out if their assumptions about the future direction of a particular stock price are shared. Of course, nobody can project the future stock price of a company with exact precision. Investors may use analyst target prices as a good starting point for comparing current stock prices and making educated projections themselves.

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Investors may have to periodically remind themselves that they don’t have to be locked in to any given trade. Sometimes, even the best researched trade may go sour. Doubling down on losses can be a dangerous game even for the experienced investor. Investors may hold out exiting a certain trade with the hope that eventually the stock will bounce back and they can at least break even. Of course this may occasionally be the case, but there is also the chance that a stock may continue to spiral downward. Investors who are able to control their emotions and logically manage their positions may give themselves a slight advantage when tough decisions need to be made. Nobody can say for sure which way the market momentum will swing on any given day, but being prepared for those swings can help the trader or investor make the best possible decisions at any given moment.

After a recent stock review, we can see that Encore Capital Group Inc (NASDAQ:ECPG) currently has an average broker rating of 1.5. Based on analysts polled by Zacks Research, this rating lands on an easy to follow scale from 1 to 5 where a 1 would indicate a Strong Buy and a 5 would represent a Strong Sell recommendation. Sell-side analysts often provide recommendations for stocks that they regularly cover. Different institutions may use various terminologies for how they describe their ratings. Because individual analyst ratings can vary, investors may choose to follow the average in order to track the general sell-side sentiment. Looking a little further, we can see that 6 polled analysts currently have the stock rated as a Strong Buy or Buy.

Many investors are concerned with the proper portfolio diversification. Stock portfolio diversification entails spreading the investment dollars around to help minimize risk. When investors are creating a portfolio, they may be looking to add a combination of growth, value, income, dividend, and foreign stocks. They may also be spreading out stock picks among various industries. Keeping a mix of stocks that perform differently under certain market conditions can help keep the portfolio afloat when the environment shifts. Holding a few large positions in a small number stocks may lead to trouble if the market turns sour and stock prices decline drastically. 

Top notch investors are usually adept at filtering through the constant financial headlines. Now more than ever, there is an unprecedented amount of news and data regarding publically traded companies. Most of the focus is typically on the short-term and it tends to focus around near-term forecasts. Although more information is probably a good thing when looking at the bigger picture, being able to zoom in on the proper information can be quite a challenge. Tuning out all the unnecessary noise isn’t easy, but it may help the investor make better decisions. Constantly switching investments based on the headlines of the day may end up leaving the investor wondering what went wrong. Analyzing the right information can be an essential part of any solid stock investing plan.

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