Harsco (HSC) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

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Have you been paying attention to shares of Harsco (HSC)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 18.1% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $29.15 in the previous session. Harsco has gained 53.6% since the start of the year compared to the -3.7% move for the Zacks Industrial Products sector and the 26.6% return for the Zacks Industrial Services industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on August 2, 2018, Harsco reported EPS of $0.36 versus consensus estimate of $0.35 while it missed the consensus revenue estimate by 1.6%.

For the current fiscal year, Harsco is expected to post earnings of $1.23 per share on $1.72 billion in revenues. This represents a 66.22% change in EPS on a 6.97% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $1.45 per share on $1.8 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 17.89% and 4.82%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Harsco may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Harsco has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and F, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 23.3X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 12X versus its peer group's average of 12X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Harsco currently has a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Harsco passes the test. Thus, it seems as though Harsco shares could have potential in the weeks and months to come.

How Does Harsco Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of Harsco have been rising, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also looking good, including Ashtead Group (ASHTY), Belden (BDC), and Avery Dennison (AVY), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.

However, it is worth noting that the Zacks Industry Rank for this group is in the bottom half of the ranking, so it isn't all good news for Harsco. Still, the fundamentals for Harsco are promising, and it still has potential despite being at a 52-week high.

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Harsco Corporation (HSC): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

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 , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: HSC , BDC , AVY , ASHTY

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