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Does Synchrony Financial Make for a Suitable Value Pick?

Value investing is easily one of the most popular ways to find great stocks in any market environment. After all, who wouldn't want to find stocks that are either flying under the radar and are compelling buys, or offer up tantalizing discounts when compared to fair value?

One way to find these companies is by looking at several key metrics and financial ratios, many of which are crucial in the value stock selection process. Let's put Synchrony FinancialSYF stock into this equation and find out if it is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now, or if investors subscribing to this methodology should look elsewhere for top picks:

PE Ratio

A key metric that value investors always look at is the Price to Earnings Ratio, or PE for short. This shows us how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of earnings in a given stock, and is easily one of the most popular financial ratios in the world. The best use of the PE ratio is to compare the stock's current PE ratio with: a) where this ratio has been in the past; b) how it compares to the average for the industry/sector; and c) how it compares to the market as a whole.

On this front, Synchrony Financial has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 13.20. This level compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE ratio for the S&P 500 comes in at about 19.51.

If we focus on the long-term trend of the stock the current level puts Synchrony Financial's current PE among its highs. This suggests that the stock is overvalued compared to its own historical levels and thus it might not be a suitable entry point.

Further, the stock's PE also compares favorably with the Zacks classified Finance - Miscellaneous Services industry's trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 17.24. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers. In fact, the stock has historically always been undervalued than its peers.

We should also point out that Synchrony Financial has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year's earnings) of 11.77 - which is lower than the current figure. So it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Synchrony Financial stock in the near term too.

PS Ratio

Another key metric to note is the Price/Sales ratio. This approach compares a given stock's price to its total sales, where a lower reading is generally considered better. Some people like this metric more than other value-focused ones because it looks at sales, something that is far harder to manipulate with accounting tricks than earnings.

Right now, Synchrony Financial has a P/S ratio of about 1.95. This is lower than the Zacks categorized Finance - Miscellaneous Services industry average, which comes in at 2.41 right now.

Notably, SYF is actually in the higher zone of its trading range in the time period per the P/S metric, which suggests that the company's stock price has already appreciated to some degree, relative to its sales.

Broad Value Outlook

In aggregate, Synchrony Financial currently has a Zacks Value Style Score of 'A', putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Synchrony Financial a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.

For example, the PEG ratio for Synchrony Financial is just 1.16, a level that is lower than the industry average of 1.24. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock's earnings growth rate. Clearly, SYF is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Synchrony Financial might be a good choice for value investors, there are plenty of other factors to consider before investing in this name. In particular, it is worth noting that the company has a Growth grade of 'D' and a Momentum score of 'F'. This gives SYF a Zacks VGM score-or its overarching fundamental grade-of 'C'. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >> )

Meanwhile, the company's recent earnings estimates have been mostly trending downwards. The current quarter has seen two estimates go higher in the past thirty days compared to two lower, while the full year estimate has seen three upward revisions and five downward revisions in the same time period.

This has had just a small impact on the consensus estimate though as the current quarter consensus estimate has fallen by 2.5% in the past month, while the full year estimate has inched lower by 0.7%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Synchrony Financial Price and Consensus

Synchrony Financial Price and Consensus | Synchrony Financial Quote

This negative trend is why the stock has just a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) despite strong value metrics and why we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

Synchrony Financial is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. It boasts of a decent industry rank (Top 36% out of more than 250 industries), but a Zacks Rank #3 for the company somewhat dims the sparkle.

Notably, the Finance - Miscellaneous Services industry has outperformed the broader market over the last year, as you can see below:

So, value investors might want to wait for analyst sentiment to turn bullish in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick.

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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.


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

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