What happened

Equifax (EFX -2.79%) shareholders beat a rising market last month. Their stock rose 12% in March compared to a 4.2% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The boost nearly offset all of the data management and analytics provider's recent losses, although shares are still lower so far in 2021.

A man studies charts on a computer screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Equifax bucked the downtrend among peers in the cloud services space thanks to positive news on the acquisition front. The company struck a deal to purchase several smaller services companies, including i2Verify, an income and employment verification specialist.

Management called these types of bolt-on mergers central to Equifax's growth strategy back in February, as they fill out its product offering. The company in 2020 achieved its highest annual growth increase to date.

Now what

Equifax will have an opportunity to add momentum to that rally with its next earnings report, likely in late April. That announcement, plus management's annual investor conference in May, will clarify whether sales will grow closer to the high end of executives' forecast calling for between 5% and 8% gains in 2021. Investors will also get a clearer picture about earnings, which are likely to expand quickly along with Equifax's increasing profit margin.