Investors seeking long-term growth often wonder whether they should resort to any of the fundamental strategies like growth or value, or follow an approach that combines the best of both. Going by Warren Buffett, these two approaches are joined at the hip. In other words, to make a long-term investment more effective, the principles of both value and growth strategies need to be combined.
Accordingly, GARP (growth at a reasonable price) investment, often known as a special case of value investment, is gaining popularity. What GARPers look for is whether the stocks are somewhat undervalued and have solid sustainable growth potential (Investopedia).
And here lies the importance of a not-so-popular fundamental metric, the price/earnings growth (PEG) ratio. Although it is categorized under value investing, this strategy follows the principles of both growth and value investing.
The PEG ratio is defined as: (Price/ Earnings)/Earnings Growth Rate
It relates the stocks P/E ratio with future earnings growth rate.
While P/E alone only gives an idea of stocks that are trading at a discount, PEG while adding the growth element to it, helps stocks that have solid future potential.
A lower PEG ratio, preferably less than 1, is always better for GARP investors.
Say for example, if a stock's P/E ratio is 10 and expected long-term growth rate is 15%, the company's PEG will come down to 0.66, a ratio that indicates both undervaluation and future growth potential.
Unfortunately, this ratio is often neglected due to investors' limitation to calculate the future earnings growth rate of a stock.
There are some drawbacks to using the PEG ratio though. It doesn't consider the very common situation of changing growth rates such as the forecast of the first three years at very high growth rate followed by a sustainable but lower growth rate in the long term.
Hence, PEG-based investing can turn out to be even more rewarding if some other relevant parameters are also taken into consideration.
Here are the screening criteria for a winning strategy:
PEG Ratio less than X Industry Median
P/E Ratio (using F1) less than X Industry Median (For more accurate valuation purpose)
Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) (Whether good market conditions or bad, stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 have a proven history of success.)
Market Capitalization greater than $1 Billion (This helps us to focus on companies that have strong liquidity.)
Average 20 Day Volume greater than 50,000: A substantial trading volume ensures that the stock is easily tradable.
Percentage Change F1 Earnings Estimate Revisions (4 Weeks) greater than 5%: Upward estimate revisions add to the optimism, suggesting further bullishness.
Value Score of less than or equal to B: Our research shows that stocks with a Style Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 (Hold) offer the best upside potential.
Here are five out of the 17 stocks that qualified the screening:
Foot Locker, Inc. (FL - Free Report) operates as an athletic shoes and apparel retailer. The company operates through its Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Footaction, Runners Point, Sidestep, and SIX:02 retail stores, as well as its direct-to-customer channels, including Eastbay.com. The stock can be an impressive value investment pick with its Zacks Rank #2 and a Value Score of A. Apart from a discounted PEG and P/E, the stock also has an impressive long-term expected growth rate of 7.5%.
Tenet Healthcare Corporation (THC - Free Report) is a diversified healthcare services company. The stock can also be an impressive value investment pick with its Zacks Rank #2 and Value Score of A. Apart from a discounted PEG and P/E, the stock also has an impressive long-term expected growth rate of 31%.
Greif, Inc. (GEF - Free Report) is a global leader in industrial packaging products and services. The company produces steel, plastic and fibre drums, intermediate bulk containers, reconditioned containers, flexible products, containerboard, uncoated recycled paperboard, coated recycled paperboard, tubes and cores and a diverse mix of specialty products. The company has an impressive growth rate of 9.3% for the next fiscal. The stock currently has a Value Score of A and a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Comfort Systems USA, Inc. (FIX - Free Report) is a leading provider of mechanical services, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, piping and controls. Apart from a discounted PEG and P/E, the stock has a Value Score of B and holds a Zacks Rank #2.
Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL - Free Report) through its subsidiaries, provides property and casualty, and other insurance products in the United States and Canada. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has a Value Score of B.
You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge.
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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.