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 Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc. ( SWM Quick Quote SWM - 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, Schweitzer-Mauduit International has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 11.61, 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 20.21. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Schweitzer-Mauduit International’s current PE level puts it slightly below its midpoint of 11.71 over the past five years, with the number having risen rapidly over the past few months. However, the current level stands significantly below the highs for the stock, suggesting that it can be a solid entry point. Moreover, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Zacks Consumer Staples Market sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 22.79. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers. We should also point out that Schweitzer-Mauduit International has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 12.15, so it is fair to expect an increase in the company’s share price in the near future. 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, Schweitzer-Mauduit International has a P/S ratio of about 1.27. This is much lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.5 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. Broad Value Outlook In aggregate, Schweitzer-Mauduit International currently has a Value Score of B, putting it into the top 40% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Schweitzer-Mauduit International a solid choice for value investors. For example, its P/CF ratio (another great indicator of value) comes in at 7.74, which is better than the industry average of 9.37. Clearly, SWM is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles. What About the Stock Overall? Though Schweitzer-Mauduit International 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 Momentum Score of D. This gives SWM 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 encouraging. The current year has seen one upward revision in the past sixty days compared to no downward revision, while the full year 2020 estimate has also seen one upward revision compared to no downward revision in the same time period. The current year consensus estimate increased 1.16% in the past two months, whereas the full year 2020 estimate rose 0.5%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below: Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc. Price and Consensus
Notably, the stock with a solid earnings surprise history and favorable estimate trends has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), which is why we are looking for outperformance from the company in the near term.
Bottom Line Schweitzer-Mauduit International is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Furthermore, the Zacks Rank #2 company flaunts a robust industry rank (among the top 41%), which indicates that the broader factors are favorable for the company. So, value investors might want to delve deeper in this stock as it appears to be a compelling pick. Today's Best Stocks from Zacks Would you like to see the updated picks from our best market-beating strategies? From 2017 through Q3 2019, while the S&P 500 gained +39.6%, five of our strategies returned +51.8%, +57.5%, +96.9%, +119.0%, and even +158.9%. This outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. From 2000 – Q3 2019, while the S&P averaged +5.6% per year, our top strategies averaged up to +54.1% per year. See their latest picks free >>