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 Trinity Industries, Inc. (TRN - 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.
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, Trinity Industries has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 13.64, 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 20.09. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, TRN’s current PE level puts it above its midpoint over the past five years, with the number having risen rapidly over the past few months.
Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Zacks classified Transportation-Equipment & Leasing industry’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 15.65. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.
We should also point out that Trinity Industries has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 22.51, so it is fair to expect an increase in the company’s share price in the near future.
An often overlooked ratio that can still be a great indicator of value is the price/cash flow metric. This ratio doesn’t take amortization and depreciation into account, so can give a more accurate picture of the financial health in a business. This is a preferred metric to some valuation investors because cash flows are (a) generally less prone to manipulation by the company’s management and (b) are less affected by variation in accounting policies between different companies.
The ratio is generally applied to find out whether a company’s stock is overpriced or underpriced with reference to its cash flows generation potential compared with its competitors. However, it is not commonly used for cross-industry comparison, as the average price to cash flow ratio varies from industry to industry.
In this case, Trinity Industries’ P/CF ratio of 6.78 is lower than the Zacks classified Transportation-Equipment & Leasing industry average of 7.39, which indicates that the stock is somewhat undervalued in this respect.
Broad Value Outlook
In aggregate, Trinity Industries currently has a Zacks Value Style Score of ‘A,’ putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Trinity Industries a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.
For example, TRN has a P/S ratio of about 1.05. This is a bit lower than the industry average, which comes in at 1.38 right now. Clearly, Trinity Industries is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.
What About the Stock Overall?
Though Trinity Industries 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 ‘C’ and a Momentum score of ‘F’. This gives Trinity Industries a Zacks VGM score—or its overarching fundamental grade—of ‘B.’ (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)
Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been mixed at best. The current quarter has seen one upward and downward estimate revision in the past sixty days, while the current year has seen no upward and three downward estimate revisions in the same time frame.
As a result, the current quarter consensus estimate has increased by 3.3% in the past two months, while the current year estimate has decreased 6.3%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:
Trinity Industries, Inc. Price and Consensus
This 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.
Trinity Industries is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. However, despite a decent industry rank (top 38% out of more than 250 industries), a Zacks Rank #3, makes it hard to get too excited about this company overall. Again, over the past two years, the Zacks Transportation-Equipment & Leasing industry 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 around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick. Moreover, broader factors at the industry level support the growth potential of the company as well.
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