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NVS vs. AZN: Which Stock Is the Better Value Option?

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Investors interested in stocks from the Large Cap Pharmaceuticals sector have probably already heard of Novartis (NVS - Free Report) and Astrazeneca (AZN - Free Report) . But which of these two stocks offers value investors a better bang for their buck right now? We'll need to take a closer look.

We have found that the best way to discover great value opportunities is to pair a strong Zacks Rank with a great grade in the Value category of our Style Scores system. The Zacks Rank is a proven strategy that targets companies with positive earnings estimate revision trends, while our Style Scores work to grade companies based on specific traits.

Novartis and Astrazeneca are sporting Zacks Ranks of #2 (Buy) and #3 (Hold), respectively, right now. This system places an emphasis on companies that have seen positive earnings estimate revisions, so investors should feel comfortable knowing that NVS is likely seeing its earnings outlook improve to a greater extent. But this is just one piece of the puzzle for value investors.

Value investors are also interested in a number of tried-and-true valuation metrics that help show when a company is undervalued at its current share price levels.

Our Value category grades stocks based on a number of key metrics, including the tried-and-true P/E ratio, the P/S ratio, earnings yield, and cash flow per share, as well as a variety of other fundamentals that value investors frequently use.

NVS currently has a forward P/E ratio of 16.63, while AZN has a forward P/E of 22.52. We also note that NVS has a PEG ratio of 1.80. This popular figure is similar to the widely-used P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also considers a company's expected EPS growth rate. AZN currently has a PEG ratio of 2.

Another notable valuation metric for NVS is its P/B ratio of 2.59. The P/B is a method of comparing a stock's market value to its book value, which is defined as total assets minus total liabilities. By comparison, AZN has a P/B of 6.69.

Based on these metrics and many more, NVS holds a Value grade of B, while AZN has a Value grade of C.

NVS sticks out from AZN in both our Zacks Rank and Style Scores models, so value investors will likely feel that NVS is the better option right now.

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