Shares of Cencora (COR) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 5.2% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $199.66 in the previous session. Cencora has gained 20% since the start of the year compared to the -8.1% move for the Zacks Medical sector and the -11.5% return for the Zacks Medical 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 November 2, 2023, Cencora reported EPS of $2.86 versus consensus estimate of $2.79 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 3.54%.
For the current fiscal year, Cencora is expected to post earnings of $12.88 per share on $283.93 billion in revenues. This represents a 7.42% change in EPS on an 8.3% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $14.11 per share on $299.02 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 9.58% and 5.31%, respectively.
Cencora 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 is due for a pullback from this level.
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. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.
Cencora has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.
In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 15.4X current fiscal year EPS estimates, which is not in-line with the peer industry average of 19.6X. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 11.8X versus its peer group's average of 8X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.73. 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, Cencora currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.
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 Cencora meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though Cencora shares could have potential in the weeks and months to come.
How Does COR Stack Up to the Competition?
Shares of COR have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? One industry peer that looks good is Medpace Holdings, Inc. (MEDP). MEDP has a Zacks Rank of # 2 (Buy) and a Value Score of C, a Growth Score of B, and a Momentum Score of C.
Earnings were strong last quarter. Medpace Holdings, Inc. beat our consensus estimate by 8.82%, and for the current fiscal year, MEDP is expected to post earnings of $10.05 per share on revenue of $1.89 billion.
Shares of Medpace Holdings, Inc. have gained 1.5% over the past month, and currently trade at a forward P/E of 31.96X and a P/CF of 32.17X.
The Medical Services industry is in the top 34% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for COR and MEDP, even beyond their own solid fundamental situation.
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