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Is Genuine Parts Company (GPC) a Good Stock to Pick Now?

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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, Genuine Parts Company (GPC - Free Report) 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, Genuine Parts Company has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 18.50, 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 compares in at about 26.32. If we focus on the stock’s long-term PE trend, the current level Genuine Parts Company puts current PE ratio below its midpoint (which is 18.88) over the past five years.


 
Also, the stock’s PE compares favorably with the Zacks Auto Tires Truck sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 45.98. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.


 
We should also point out that Genuine Parts Company has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 18.68, so it is fair to expect an increase in share price in the near term too.

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, the stock has a P/S ratio of about 0.76. This is substantially lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 4.62 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is slightly 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, Genuine Parts Company currently has a Value Style Score of B, putting it into the top 40% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes GPC a solid choice for value investors.

Its P/CF ratio comes in at 11.74, which is far better than the industry average of 13.23. Clearly, GPC is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Genuine Parts Company 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 A and a Momentum score of F. This gives GPC 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 mixed. The current quarter has seen two estimates go higher in the past sixty days and two lower, while current year estimate has five upward and one downward revision in the same time period.

This has had a noticeable impact on the consensus estimate. The current quarter consensus estimate has fallen 4.3% in the past two months, while the current year estimate has risen 2.6% in the same time period. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

 

 

This somewhat mixed 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.

Bottom Line

Genuine Parts Company is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front.  Moreover, a strong industry rank (Top 6% out of more than 250 industries) further supports the growth potential of the stock. However, with 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:


 

So, value investors might want to wait for estimates and analyst sentiment to turn favorable in this name first, but once that happen, this stock could be a compelling pick

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