We often judge a company on the basis of its sales and earnings numbers. These, however, may not be just enough to assess its performance. Sometimes, a stock gets a boost from these numbers climbing year over year or surpassing estimates in a particular quarter. Definitely, this would be a great opportunity for a short horizon investor to cash in on. But if you seek long-term returns, investments backed only by sales and earnings numbers may be deficient.
A critical analysis of a company’s financial background is always required for a better investment decision. Here, coverage ratios that determine whether a company is sound enough to meet its financial obligations play a crucial role. The higher these are, the better it is. The focus of this article is on “Interest Coverage” which is one such ratio.
Why Interest Coverage Ratio?
Interest Coverage Ratio is used to determine how effectively a company can pay the interest charges on its debt.
Debt, which is very important for most of the companies to finance operations, comes at a cost called interest. Interest expense has a direct bearing on the profitability of a company and the company’s creditworthiness depends on how effectively it meets interest obligations. Therefore, Interest Coverage Ratio is one of the important criteria to factor in before making any investment decision.
Formula: Interest Coverage Ratio = Earnings before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) divided by Interest Expense. Interest Coverage Ratio suggests the number of times the interest could be paid from earnings and also gauges the margin of safety a firm carries for paying interest.
An interest coverage ratio lower than 1.0 implies that the company is unable to fulfill its interest obligations, and could default on repaying debt. A company that is capable of generating earnings well above its interest expense can withstand financial hardships. Definitely, one should also track the company’s past performance to determine whether the interest coverage ratio has improved or worsened over a period of time.
The Winning Strategy
Apart from having an Interest Coverage Ratio that is more than the industry average, adding a favorable Zacks Rank and a VGM Score of “A” or “B” to your search criteria should lead to better results.
Interest Coverage Ratio greater than X-Industry Median
Price greater than or equal to 5: The stocks must all be trading at a minimum of $5 or higher.
5-Year Historical EPS Growth (%) greater than X-Industry Median: Stocks that have a strong EPS growth history.
Projected EPS Growth (%) greater than X-Industry Median: This is the projected EPS growth over the next three to five years. This shows that the stock has near-term earnings growth potential.
Average 20-Day Volume greater than 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.
VGM Score of less than or equal to B: Our research shows that stocks with a VGM Score of ‘A’ or ‘B’ when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 offer the best upside potential.
Here are seven of the 22 stocks that qualified the screening:
Sanmina Corporation (SANM - Free Report) , the provider of integrated manufacturing solutions, components, products and repair, and logistics, has a Zacks Rank #1 and a VGM score of “B”. The expected EPS growth rate for 3–5 years currently stands at 17.5%.
Orchids Paper Products Company , the manufacturer and seller of tissue products, has a Zacks Rank #1 and a VGM score of “B”. The expected EPS growth rate for 3–5 years currently stands at 14.3%.
CBS Corporation (CBS - Free Report) , a mass media company has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM score of “A”. The expected EPS growth rate for 3–5 years currently stands at 13.8%.
Steel Dynamics Inc. (STLD - Free Report) the manufacturer and seller of steel products has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM score of “A”. The expected EPS growth rate for 3–5 years is currently 25.6%.
Vail Resorts Inc. (MTN - Free Report) , which through its subsidiaries operates mountain resorts and urban ski areas, has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM score of “B”. The expected EPS growth rate for 3–5 years is presently 14.1%.
Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (EEFT - Free Report) , the provider of payment and transaction processing and distribution solutions to financial institutions, retailers and individual consumers, has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM score of “A”. The expected EPS growth rate for 3–5 years is pegged at 14.8%.
Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM - Free Report) , producer of crude oil and natural gas, has a Zacks Rank #2 and a VGM score of “B”. The expected EPS growth rate for 3–5 years is pegged at 21.5%.
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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.
Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: https://www.zacks.com/performance.
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