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 Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc.SC 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, Santander has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 6.26, as you can see in the chart below:
This level actually compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 19.88. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Santander's current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past three years. Moreover, the current level is fairly below the highs for this stock, suggesting it might be a good entry point.
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, Santander has a P/S ratio of about 0.77. This is quite lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 2.84 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is well below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.
This mixed trend indicates that while the stock's growth story is intact over the medium term, analysts have some apprehensions about the stock in the immediate future.
Santander is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. However, with a sluggish industry rank (Bottom28% out of more than 250 industries) and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), it is hard to get too excited about this company overall. In fact, over the past five years, the Zacks Financial-Consumer Loans industry has clearly underperformed the broader market, as you can see below:
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