Have you been paying attention to shares of Spirit Airlines (SAVE)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 20.8% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $54.5 in the previous session. Spirit Airlines has gained 19.7% since the start of the year compared to the -4.6% move for the Zacks Transportation sector and the -14.3% return for the Zacks Transportation - Airline industry.
What's Driving the Outperformance?
The stock has a great 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 October 24, 2018, Spirit reported EPS of $1.47 versus consensus estimate of $1.39.
For the current fiscal year, Spirit is expected to post earnings of $3.66 per share on $3.27 billion in revenues. This represents a 9.91% change in EPS on a 23.45% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $4.51 per share on $3.81 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 23.31% and 16.5%, respectively.
Spirit 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.
Spirit has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are D and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.
In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 14.7X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 9.8X versus its peer group's average of 5.8X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 0.6. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.
We also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Spirit 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 Spirit meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Spirit shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.
How Does Spirit Stack Up to the Competition?
Shares of Spirit have been moving higher, 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 solid potential picks, including Air France-KLM SA (AFLYY), International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (ICAGY), and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW), 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 Spirit. Still, the fundamentals for Spirit are promising, and it still has potential despite being at a 52-week high.
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