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Is CIT Group (CIT) 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 CIT Group Inc. (CIT - 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, CIT Group has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 16.4 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 21.4. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, CIT Group’s current PE level puts it above its midpoint over the past five years.

Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Zacks Financial Miscellaneous Services industry’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 21.5. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.


We should also point out that CIT Group has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 17, so it is fair to say that the stock price might appreciate in future.

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, CIT Group has a P/S ratio of about 2.3. This is a bit lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.4x 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, CIT 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, CIT Group currently has a Value Score of B, putting it into the top 40% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes CIT Group a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.

For example, its P/CF ratio (another great indicator of value) comes in at 7, which is far better than the industry average of 12.2. Clearly, CIT is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though CIT Group 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 C. This gives CIT a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of D. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)

Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been pretty encouraging. The current year has seen two estimates to go higher in the past sixty days compared to none lower. This has had a significant impact on the consensus estimate  as the current year consensus estimate has risen by 3.5% in the past two months. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

CIT Group Inc Price and Consensus

Despite this bullish trend, the stock has just a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and that is why we are looking for better performance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

CIT Group is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. However, with a sluggish industry rank (Bottom 38% out of more than 250 industries) and a Zacks Rank #3, it is hard to get too excited about this company overall. In fact, over the past two years, the industry has clearly underperformed the broader market, as you can see below:

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

Zacks Editor-in-Chief Goes "All In" on This Stock

Full disclosure, Kevin Matras now has more of his own money in one particular stock than in any other. He believes in its short-term profit potential and also in its prospects to more than double by 2019. Today he reveals and explains his surprising move in a new Special Report.

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