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Is Molina Healthcare (MOH) a Good Pick 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 Molina Healthcare (MOH - 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, Molina Healthcare has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 13.2, as you can see in the chart below:

This level actually compares favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 17.6. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Molina Healthcare’s current PE level puts it much below its midpoint of 23.1 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 Medical Market’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 20.6. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is much undervalued right now, compared to its peers.

We should also point out that Molina Healthcare has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 13.7, which is tad higher than the current level. So, it is fair to expect an increase in the company’s share price in the near term.

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, Molina Healthcare has a P/S ratio of just 0.5. This is much 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, MOH is towards the higher end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, which suggests that the company’s stock price has already appreciated to some degree, relative to its sales.

Broad Value Outlook

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

For example, the P/CF ratio for Molina Healthcare is 9.7, a level that is lower than the industry average of 12.4x. Clearly, MOH is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Molina Healthcare 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 Growth Score of A and a Momentum Score of C. This gives MOH a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of A. (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 five upward revisions in the past sixty days compared to two downward revisions, while the full year estimate has seen eight upward and no downward revisions in the same time period.

This however had a mixed impact on the consensus estimate as the current quarter consensus estimate has declined by 2.4% in the past two months, while the full year estimate has shot up 7.5%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Despite the mixed trend, the stock has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and why we are looking for outperformance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

Molina Healthcare is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Further, a strong industry rank (among Top 16% of more than 250 industries) and a Zacks Rank #2 boosts our confidence.

In fact, over the past two years, the broader industry has clearly outperformed the market at large, as you can see below:

So, it might pay for value investors to delve deeper into the company’s prospects, as fundamentals indicate that this stock could be a compelling pick.

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