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 Capital One Financial CorporationCOF 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, Capital One Financial has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 13.1, as you can see in the chart below:
We should also point out that Capital One Financial has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year's earnings) of just 12.1, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Capital One Financial's stock in the near term too.
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, Capital One Financial has a P/S ratio of about 1.7. This is significantly lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.4 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is somewhat below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.
If anything, this suggests some level of undervalued trading-at least compared to historical norms.
Broad Value Outlook
In aggregate, Capital One Financial currently has a Value Style Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes COF a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.
For example, the PEG ratio for Capital One Financial is just 1.4, a level that is marginally lower than the industry average of 1.5. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock's earnings growth rate. Additionally, its P/CF ratio (another great indicator of value) comes in at 7.5, which is considerably better than the industry average of 9.0. Clearly, COF is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.
What About the Stock Overall?
Though Capital One 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 C and a Momentum score of B. This gives COF a 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 disappointing. The current quarter consensus estimate has not witnessed any earnings momentum in the past two months, while the full year estimate has dipped 0.1%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:
Capital One Financial Corporation Price and Consensus
This somewhat bearish trend is why the stock has just a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and why we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.
Capital One Financial 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 (bottom 23% out of more than 250 industries) and a Zacks Rank #3, it is hard to get too excited about this company overall. In fact, over the past one year, the sector has clearly underperformed the broader market, as you can see below:
Zacks Editor-in-Chief Goes "All In" on This Stock
Full disclosure, Kevin Matras now has more of his own money in one particular stock than in any other. He believes in its short-term profit potential and also in its prospects to more than double by 2019. Today he reveals and explains his surprising move in a new Special Report.