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 Harsco Corporation (HSC - 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, Harsco Corporation has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 14.47, 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 18.35. Also, if we focus on the long-term PE trend, Harsco Corporation’s current PE level puts it way below its midpoint of 24.44 over the past five years.
The stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Industrial Products Market’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 15.9. This indicates that the stock is undervalued right now, compared to its peers.
Meanwhile, Harsco Corporation has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 11.78, which is much lower than the current level. So, it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Harsco Corporation stock in the near term too.
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, Harsco Corporation has a P/S ratio of 0.81. This is quite lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.23x right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.
Broad Value Outlook
In aggregate, Harsco Corporation currently has a Value Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Harsco Corporation a solid choice for value investors.
What About the Stock Overall?
Though Harsco Corporation 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 D. This gives HSC 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 mixed at best. The current quarter has seen one estimate go down in the past sixty days compared to no upward revisions, while the full year estimate has seen no down and one up in the same time period.
This has had a mixed effect on the consensus estimate. While the current-quarter consensus estimate dipped 2.7% over the past two months, the full-year estimate has climbed 11.3%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:
Despite such mixed analyst sentiments, the stock has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and it is the reason why we are looking for outperformance from the company in the near term.
Harsco Corporation is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Despite a sluggish industry rank (among Bottom 4% of more than 250 industries), a Zacks Rank #1 instils investors’ optimism in the stock.
Also, over the past two years, the broader industry has clearly outperformed the market at large, as you can see below:
We believe, despite an unsatisfactory industry rank, a strong Zacks rank and past industry performance signal that the stock is likely to benefit from favorable broader factors in the immediate future. Add to this robust value metrics, and we believe that we have a strong value contender in Harsco Corporation.
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