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 United States Steel Corporation (X - 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:
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, United States Steel has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of just 3.7, as you can see in the chart below:
This level actually compares quite favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 18.09. However, if we focus on the long-term PE trend, United States Steel’s current PE level puts it quite below its midpoint of 5.77 over the past five years.
Also, the stock’s PE compares pretty favorably with the Basic Materials Market’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 12.8. This indicates that the stock is quite undervalued right now, compared to its peers.
However, United States Steel has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 8.7, which is quite higher than the current level. So, it is fair to expect an increase in the company’s share price in the near term.
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, United States Steel has a P/S ratio of just 0.25. This is much lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.3 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this stands below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.
Broad Value Outlook
In aggregate, United States Steel currently has a Value Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes United States Steel a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.
For example, the PEG ratio for United States Steel is just 1.1, a level that is slightly lower than the industry average of 1.2x. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate. Clearly, X is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.
What About the Stock Overall?
Though United States Steel 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 A and a Momentum Score of C. This gives X 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 downbeat. The current quarter has seen two downward revisions in the past sixty days compared to one upward revision, while the full year estimate has seen one upward and five downward revisions in the same time period.
This has had a negative impact on the consensus estimate as the current quarter consensus estimate has plummeted 71.6% in the past two months, while the full year estimate has declined 24.9%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:
Despite this bearish trend the stock has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and it is the reason why we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.
United States Steel 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 31% of more than 250 industries).
However, with a Zacks Rank #3 it is hard to get too excited about this company overall. In fact, over the past two years, the broader industry has clearly underperformed the market at large, as you can see below:
So, value investors might want to wait for estimates and analyst sentiment to turn around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick.
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