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Should Value Investors Consider Prudential (PUK) Stock Now?

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 Prudential plc PUK 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, Prudential has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 7.18, 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 19.54. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Prudential’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.

 

Further, the stock’s PE compares favorably with the Zacks Finance sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 14.58. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers. 

 

We should also point out that Prudential has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 9.13, which is tad higher than the current level. So it is fair to expect an increase in the company’s share price in the near term.

P/S 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, Prudential has a P/S ratio of about 1.38. This is lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.38 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. 

 

If anything, PUK is in the higher end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, suggesting some level of overvalued trading—at least compared to historical norms. 

Broad Value Outlook

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

For example, the PEG ratio for Prudential is just 1.01, a level that is lower than the industry average of 1.18. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate. Clearly, PUK is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Prudential 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 Score of C and a Momentum Score of F. This gives PUK a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of B. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)

Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been disappointing. The current year has seen one estimate go lower in the past sixty days compared to one higher, while the full year 2020 estimate has seen two downward revision compared to no upward in the same time period.

This has had a negative impact on the consensus estimate though as the current year consensus estimate has declined by 3.7% in the past two months, while the full year 2020 estimate has decreased by 7.1%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Prudential Public Limited Company Price and Consensus

 

Prudential Public Limited Company Price and Consensus

Prudential Public Limited Company price-consensus-chart | Prudential Public Limited Company Quote

Despite the bearish analyst sentiments, the stock holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Thus, we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line 

Prudential is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible line up of statistics on this front.

However, with a sluggish industry rank (among top 39% of more than 250 industries) and Zacks Rank #3, it is hard to get too excited about this company overall. In fact, over the past two years, the Zacks Insurance - Multi line has clearly underperformed the market at large, as you can see below:

 

So, value investors might want to wait for estimates, analyst sentiment and industry trends to turn favorable 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.

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