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 Just Energy Group Inc. JE 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:
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, Just Energy has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 13.07, as you can see in the chart below:
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, Just Energy has a P/S ratio of about 0.39. This is lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.18 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.
Broad Value Outlook
In aggregate, Just Energy 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 Just Energy a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.
For example, P/CF ratio (another great indicator of value) for Just Energy comes in at 8.09, which is better than the industry average of 9.95. Clearly, JE is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.
What About the Stock Overall?
Though Just Energy 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 'B' and a Momentum score of 'A'. This gives JE a Zacks VGM score-or its overarching fundamental grade-of 'A'. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >> )
Meanwhile, the company's recent earnings estimates have been mostly bullish. The current quarter has seen one estimate go higher in the past sixty days compared to none lower.
This has had a considerable impact on the consensus estimate though as the current quarter consensus estimate has risen by 133.3% in the past two months. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:
Just Energy Group, Inc. Price and Consensus
This positive trend has likely not yet been reflected in the stock, as we have just a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which indicates expectations of in-line performance in the near term. However, the decidedly bullish analyst sentiment indicates that the stock's growth story is intact and this stock might just be one that is flying under the radar.
Just Energy is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Despite having a Zacks Rank #3, the stock belongs to an industry which is ranked among the Top 13%, which indicates that broader factors are favorable for the company. In fact, over the past two years, the Zacks categorized Utility-Gas Distribution industry has clearly outperformed the broader market, as you can see below:
Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2017
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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.