Price-to-Book or P/B is a useful valuation tool for comparing companies that have negative earnings as these firms cannot be compared using P/E ratio analysis.
The P/B ratio is calculated as follows:
P/B ratio = market capitalization/book value of equity
Market capitalization = shares outstanding x market price of each share
Book value of equity = book value of total assets - book value of total liabilities
What’s Book Value?
Book value is the total value that would be left over, according to the company’s balance sheet, if it goes bankrupt immediately. In other words, this is what shareholders would theoretically receive if a company liquidates all its assets after paying off all its liabilities.
It is calculated by subtracting total liabilities from the total assets of a company. In most cases, this equates to common stockholders’ equity on the balance sheet. However, depending on the company’s balance sheet, intangible assets should also be subtracted from the total assets to determine book value.
Understanding P/B Ratio
By comparing the book value of equity to its market price, we get an idea of whether a company is under- or overpriced. However, like P/E or P/S ratio, it is always better to compare P/B ratios within industries.
A P/B ratio of less than one means that the stock is trading at less than its book value, or the stock is undervalued and therefore a good buy. Conversely, a stock with a ratio greater than one can be interpreted as being overvalued or relatively expensive.
For example, a stock with a P/B ratio of 2 means that we pay $2 for every $1 of book value. Thus, the higher the P/B, the more expensive the stock.
But there is a caveat. A P/B ratio less than one can also mean that the company is earning weak or even negative returns on its assets, or that the assets are overstated, in which case the stock should be shunned because it may be destroying shareholder value. Conversely, the stock’s price may be significantly high — thereby pushing the P/B ratio to more than one — in the likely case that it has become a takeover target, a good enough reason to own the stock.
Moreover, the P/B ratio isn't without limitations. It is useful for businesses — like finance, investments, insurance and banking or manufacturing companies — with many liquid/tangible assets on the books. However, it can be misleading for firms with significant R&D expenditure, high debt, service companies or those with negative earnings.
In any case, the ratio is not particularly relevant as a standalone number. One should analyze other ratios like P/E, P/S and debt to equity before arriving at a reasonable investment decision.
Screening Parameters Price to Book (common Equity) less than X-Industry Median: A lower P/B compared with the industry average implies that there is enough room for the stock to gain. Price to Sales less than X-Industry Median: The P/S ratio determines how much the market values every dollar of the company’s sales/revenues — a lower ratio than the industry makes the stock attractive. Price to Earnings using F(1) estimate less than X-Industry Median: The P/E ratio (F1) values a company based on its current share price relative to its estimated earnings per share — a lower ratio than the industry is considered better. PEG less than 1: PEG links P/E ratio to the future growth rate of the company. PEG ratio portrays a more complete picture than the P/E ratio. A value of less than 1 indicates that the stock is undervalued and investors need to pay less for a stock that has bright earnings growth prospects. Current Price greater than or equal to $5: They must all be trading at a minimum of $5 or higher. Average 20-Day Volume greater than or equal to 100,000: A substantial trading volume ensures that the stock is easily tradable. Zacks Rank less than or equal to #2: Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) stocks are known to outperform irrespective of the market environment. Value Score equal to A or B: Our research shows that stocks with a Value Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 offer the best opportunities in the value investing space.
Here are seven out of the 18 stocks that qualified the screening:
Lincoln National Corporation ( LNC Quick Quote LNC - Free Report) ,adiversified life insurance and investment managementcompany, has a 3-5-year EPS growth rate of 40.1%. It currently has a Zacks Rank #1 and a Value Score of B. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Conn's ( CONN Quick Quote CONN - Free Report) , a specialty retailer dealing in home appliances, hasa projected 3-5-year EPS growth rate of 23% It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 and has a Value Score of A. Celestica ( CLS Quick Quote CLS - Free Report) , a electronics manufacturing services company, has a projected 3-5-year EPS growth rate of 10.2%. It currently has a Zacks Rank #2 and a Value Score of A. Group 1 Automotive ( GPI Quick Quote GPI - Free Report) , a leading automotive retailer, has a projected 3-5-year EPS growth rate 8.4%. It currently has a Zacks Rank #1 and a Value Score of A. ON Semiconductor Corporation ( ON Quick Quote ON - Free Report) , an original equipment manufacturer of a broad range of discrete and embedded semiconductor components, has a Zacks Rank #2 and a Value Score of B. The company has a projected 3-5-year EPS growth rate of 52.3%. Honda Motor Co., Ltd ( HMC Quick Quote HMC - Free Report) , a leading manufacturer of automobiles and the largest producer of motorcycles in the world, has a Zacks Rank #2 and a Value Score of A. The company has a projected 3-5-year EPS growth rate of 14.3%. Envista Holdings Corporation ( NVST Quick Quote NVST - Free Report) , a dental product company, hasa projected 3-5-year EPS growth rate of 27.4%. It currently has a Zacks Rank #2 and a Value Score of B.
Get the rest of the stocks on the list and start putting this and other ideas to the test. It can all be done with the Research Wizard stock picking and back testing software.
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. Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance