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Zacks.com featured highlights: Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo , RLJ Lodging Trust, Principal Financial Group and TrueBlue

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - July 26, 2016 - Stocks in this week's article include: Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation ( NTT ), Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo ( SBS ), RLJ Lodging Trust ( RLJ ), Principal Financial Group Inc. ( PFG ) and TrueBlue, Inc. ( TBI ).

Screen of the Week of Zacks Investment Research:

Tap These 5 Bargain Stocks with Attractive EV/EBITDA Ratios

Price-to-earnings (P/E) is hands down the most commonly used metric in the value investing world. This straightforward, easy to calculate ratio enjoys greater popularity among valuation metrics in the investment toolkit and is preferred while uncovering bargain stocks. A widely favored approach by value investors is to chase stocks with a low P/E ratio. But even this equity valuation multiple is not devoid of shortcomings.

Why EV/EBITDA is a Better Alternative?

Although P/E is by far the most popular valuation metric, a more complicated metric called EV/EBITDA does a better job in working out the fair market value of a firm. Often viewed as a better substitute to P/E, this ratio offers a clearer picture of a company's valuation and its earnings potential.

Also dubbed as the enterprise multiple, EV/EBITDA is the enterprise value ("EV") of a stock divided by its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA"). EV is the sum of a company's market capitalization, its debt and preferred stock minus cash and cash equivalents. In a nutshell, it is the entire value of a company.

EBITDA, the other constituent of the ratio, gives the true picture of a company's profitability as it removes the impact of non-cash expenses like depreciation and amortization that dilute net earnings. It is also often used as a proxy for cash flows.

Typically, the lower the EV/EBITDA ratio, the more attractive it is. A low EV/EBITDA ratio could signal that a stock is potentially undervalued and vice versa.

However, EV/EBITDA takes into account the debt on a company's balance sheet that P/E ratio does not. For this reason, EV/EBITDA is usually used to value possible acquisition targets, as it shows the amount of debt the acquirer has to assume. Companies with a low EV/EBITDA multiple could be seen as attractive takeover candidates.

Another downside of P/E is that it can't be used to value a loss-making company. A company's earnings are also subject to accounting estimates and management manipulation. EV/EBITDA, in contrast, is less amenable to manipulation and also can be used to value firms that have negative net earnings but are positive on the EBITDA side.

Moreover, EV/EBITDA determines the total value of a company while P/E only considers its equity portion. EV/EBITDA is also a useful tool in measuring the value of firms that are highly leveraged and have a high degree of depreciation. It also allows the comparison of companies with different debt levels.

But EV/EBITDA is not without its limitations. The ratio varies across industries (a high-growth industry typically has higher multiple and vice versa) and is usually not appropriate while comparing stocks in different industries given their diverse capital requirements.

Thus, instead of solely relying on EV/EBITDA, you can combine it with the other major ratios such as price-to-book (P/B), P/E and price-to-sales (P/S) to achieve the desired results.

Screening Criteria

Here are the parameters to screen for true value stocks:

EV/EBITDA 12 Months-Most Recent less than X-Industry Median : A lower EV/EBITDA ratio represents a cheaper valuation.

P/E using (F1) less than X-Industry Median : This metric screens stocks that are trading at a discount to their peers.

P/B less than X-Industry Median : A lower P/B compared with the industry average implies that the stock is undervalued.

P/S less than X-Industry Median : The lower the P/S ratio the more attractive the stock is as investors will have to pay a smaller price for the same amount of sales generated by the company.

Estimated One-Year EPS Growth F(1)/F(0) greater than or equal to X-Industry Median : This parameter will help in screening stocks that have growth rates higher than the industry median. This is a meaningful indicator as decent earnings growth always adds to investor optimism.

Average 20-day Volume greater than or equal to 100,000 : The addition of this metric ensures that shares can be traded easily.

Current Price greater than or equal to $5 : This parameter will help in screening stocks that are trading at a minimum price of $5 or higher.

Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2 : No screening is complete without the Zacks Rank, which has proven its worth since inception. It is a fundamental truth that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy) have always managed to beat adversities and outperformed the market.

Value Scoreof less than or equal to B : Our research shows that stocks with a Style Score of 'A' or 'B' when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 offer the best upside potential.

Here are five of the eight stocks that passed the screen:

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation ( NTT ) offers a range of telecommunications services, including telephone, telegraph, leased circuits, data communication, terminal equipment sales and other services. This Zacks Rank #1 stock has expected year-over-year earnings growth of 21.9% for 2016 and 10.4% for 2017.

Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo ( SBS ) provides public water and sewage services to residential, commercial, industrial and governmental customers in Sao Paulo. This Zacks Rank #1 stock has expected year- over-year earnings growth of 195.8% for 2016 and 10.8% for 2017.

RLJ Lodging Trust ( RLJ ) is focused on investing primarily in premium-branded, focused-service, and compact full-service hotels. This Zacks Rank #2 company delivered an average positive earnings surprise of around 6.9% over the trailing four quarters.

Principal Financial Group Inc. ( PFG ) is a leading provider of retirement savings, investment and insurance products and services. The company carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has expected EPS growth rate for 3 to 5 years of 5.8%.

TrueBlue, Inc. ( TBI ) provides general labor, light industrial and skilled trades services to small to mid-sized businesses in the construction, warehousing, hospitality, landscaping, transportation, light manufacturing, retail, wholesale, facilities, sanitation and aviation industries. This Zacks Rank #2 stock has expected year-over-year earnings growth of 24.8% for 2016 and 5.8% for 2017.

You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.

The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your Research Wizard trial today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out.

Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today .

Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

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NIPPON TELE-ADR (NTT): Free Stock Analysis Report

SABESP -ADR (SBS): Free Stock Analysis Report

RLJ LODGING TR (RLJ): Free Stock Analysis Report

PRINCIPAL FINL (PFG): Free Stock Analysis Report

TRUEBLUE INC (TBI): Free Stock Analysis Report

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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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