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Why Hold is an Apt Strategy for Alliance Data (ADS) Stock

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Alliance Data Financial Corporation’s solid Card Service segment, strategic acquisitions, and robust capital position along with favorable growth estimates make it worthy of retention in one’s portfolio.

Zacks Rank & Price Performance

Alliance Data currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Year to date, the stock has gained 28.5% against the industry’s decrease of 10.8%. In the meantime, the Finance sector has witnessed an increase of 21.2% while the Zacks S&P 500 composite has risen 21.8%.

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Growth Projections

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings is pegged at $17.68, indicating an increase of 88.3% from the year-ago reported figure. The long-term earnings growth rate is currently pegged at 17.1%.

Return on Equity (ROE)

The company’s ROE for the trailing 12 months is 56.4%, better than the industry average of 27.5%, reflecting the company’s efficiency in utilizing shareholders’ fund.  The company aims to generate mid-to-high 20s returns for its shareholders

Earnings Surprise History

The life insurer has a decent track of delivering earnings surprise in the last five quarters, with the average beat being 12.34%.

Estimate Revision

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 has moved 6.2% north in the past 30 days, reflecting analyst optimism.

Style Score

The company is well poised for progress, as is evident from its favorable VGM Score of B. Here V stands for Value, G for Growth, and M for Momentum, with the score being a weighted combination of all three factors.

Business Tailwinds

Being a private label credit card processing firm for mid-market specialty retail stores in the United States, the company continues to benefit from data-driven marketing strategies. Its high-ROI Card Service segment is poised to deliver solid results banking on strategic endeavors like new partner signing, renewals, and a solid pipeline.

The strategic agreement with Fiserv will enable efficient integration and use of mobile wallets and virtual cards as well as support data and analytics capabilities while lowering service costs. The company is prudently investing in strategic growth areas and ramping up marketing spend in growth verticals.

The company also remains focused on enhancing its capabilities with an emphasis on digital capabilities. Its acquisition of Bread, a technology-driven digital payments company, will expand its digital offerings.

Alliance Data's strategic focus is to be a leading payment and lending solutions business. It thus decided to spin off its LoyaltyOne business.

Upbeat Guidance

Alliance Data estimates credit sales to deliver double-digit growth, with the net loss rate below 5% in 2021. Receivables at 2021 end are estimated to be in line with 2020 end levels. It expects high single-digit to low double-digit average receivables growth in 2022.

The company targets high single-digit annual receivable growth in 2023.

Strong Capital Position

Alliance Data has a strong balance sheet by virtue of its solid cash position. The company also extended the timeline for further debt reduction of $2 billion from June 2021 till December 2022 and extended an additional debt of $850 million from June 2021 to December 2024.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks from the same space include Envestnet (ENV - Free Report) , Equifax (EFX - Free Report) , and Evertec (EVTC - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Envestnet delivered an earnings surprise of 24.07% in the last reported quarter.

Equifax Financial delivered an earnings surprise of 15.79% in the last reported quarter.

Evertec delivered an earnings surprise of 36.84% in the last reported quarter.


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