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Is Viacom, Inc. (VIAB) a Great Stock for Value Investors?

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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 Viacom, Inc. (VIAB - 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:

PE Ratio

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, Viacom has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 7.4, 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 stands at about 20.1. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Viacom’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.

Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the industry’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 13.4. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.

We should also point out that Viacom has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 7.4which is roughly in line with the current level. Hence the forward earnings estimates are already incorporated in the company’s current share price.

P/S Ratio

Another key metric to note is the Price/Sales ratio. This approach compares a given stock’s price to its total sales, where a lower reading is generally considered better. Some people like this metric more than other value-focused ones because it looks at sales, something that is far harder to manipulate with accounting tricks than earnings.

Right now, Viacom has a P/S ratio of about 0.8. This is lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.2x right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is well below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.

If anything, VIAB is in the lower end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, suggesting some level of undervalued trading—at least compared to historical norms.

Broad Value Outlook

In aggregate, Viacom currently has a Value Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Viacom a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.

For example, its PEG ratio (another great indicator of value) comes in at 1, which is better than the industry average of 1.3. Clearly, VIAB is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Viacom 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 Score of F and a Momentum Score of D. This gives VIAB a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of C. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)

Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been discouraging. The current quarter has seen no estimate to go higher in the past sixty days compared to six lower, while the full year estimate has seen one up and four down in the same time period.

This has had a significant impact on the consensus estimate as the current quarter consensus estimate has declined by 12% in the past two months, while the full year estimate has inched lower by 0.5%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Viacom Inc. Price and Consensus

This bearish 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.

Bottom Line

Viacom is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Moreover, a strong industry rank (Bottom 40% out of more than 250 Zacks industries) further strengthens its growth potential.

So, value investors might want to wait for estimates, analyst sentiment and broader factors to turn around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick.

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