ESNT vs. TREE: Which Stock Should Value Investors Buy Now?

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Investors looking for stocks in the Financial - Mortgage & Related Services sector might want to consider either Essent Group (ESNT) or Tree.com (TREE). But which of these two companies is the best option for those looking for undervalued stocks? Let's take a closer look.

There are plenty of strategies for discovering value stocks, but we have found that pairing a strong Zacks Rank with an impressive grade in the Value category of our Style Scores system produces the best returns. The Zacks Rank is a proven strategy that targets companies with positive earnings estimate revision trends, while our Style Scores work to grade companies based on specific traits.

Right now, Essent Group is sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy), while Tree.com has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold). Investors should feel comfortable knowing that ESNT likely has seen a stronger improvement to its earnings outlook than TREE has recently. But this is just one piece of the puzzle for value investors.

Value investors analyze a variety of traditional, tried-and-true metrics to help find companies that they believe are undervalued at their current share price levels.

The Value category of the Style Scores system identifies undervalued companies by looking at a number of key metrics. These include the long-favored P/E ratio, P/S ratio, earnings yield, cash flow per share, and a variety of other fundamentals that help us determine a company's fair value.

ESNT currently has a forward P/E ratio of 9, while TREE has a forward P/E of 42.10. We also note that ESNT has a PEG ratio of 0.90. This popular metric is similar to the widely-known P/E ratio, with the difference being that the PEG ratio also takes into account the company's expected earnings growth rate. TREE currently has a PEG ratio of 1.01.

Another notable valuation metric for ESNT is its P/B ratio of 1.91. Investors use the P/B ratio to look at a stock's market value versus its book value, which is defined as total assets minus total liabilities. By comparison, TREE has a P/B of 8.75.

These are just a few of the metrics contributing to ESNT's Value grade of B and TREE's Value grade of D.

ESNT is currently sporting an improving earnings outlook, which makes it stick out in our Zacks Rank model. And, based on the above valuation metrics, we feel that ESNT is likely the superior value option right now.

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Essent Group Ltd. (ESNT): Free Stock Analysis Report

LendingTree, Inc. (TREE): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: ESNT , TREE

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