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Valero Energy Corporation (VLO) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

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Have you been paying attention to shares of Valero Energy (VLO - Free Report) ? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 18.2% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $133.08 in the previous session. Valero Energy has gained 75.5% since the start of the year compared to the 39.8% move for the Zacks Oils-Energy sector and the 40.1% return for the Zacks Oil and Gas - Refining and Marketing industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on April 26, 2022, Valero Energy reported EPS of $2.31 versus consensus estimate of $1.61.

For the current fiscal year, Valero Energy is expected to post earnings of $14.09 per share on $158.37 billion in revenues. This represents a 401.42% change in EPS on a 38.95% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $10.84 per share on $147.71 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of -23.09% and -6.73%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Valero Energy may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Valero Energy has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 9.4X current fiscal year EPS estimates, which is not in-line with the peer industry average of 9.8X. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 15.2X versus its peer group's average of 10X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.56. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Valero Energy currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Valero Energy passes the test. Thus, it seems as though Valero Energy shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.

How Does VLO Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of VLO have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? One industry peer that looks good is Equinor ASA (EQNR - Free Report) . EQNR has a Zacks Rank of # 1 (Strong Buy) and a Value Score of A, a Growth Score of A, and a Momentum Score of F.

Earnings were strong last quarter. Equinor ASA beat our consensus estimate by 1.91%, and for the current fiscal year, EQNR is expected to post earnings of $5.56 per share on revenue of $201.08 billion.

Shares of Equinor ASA have gained 10.5% over the past month, and currently trade at a forward P/E of 6.77X and a P/CF of 5.62X.

The Oil and Gas - Refining and Marketing industry is in the top 7% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for VLO and EQNR, even beyond their own solid fundamental situation.

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