Investors generally have a fixation on the price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple while seeking stocks that are trading at attractive prices. A widely favored approach by value investors is to chase stocks that have a low P/E ratio. But even this straightforward, broadly used valuation metric suffers a few downsides.
EV/EBITDA is a Better Approach, Here’s Why
Although P/E enjoys great popularity among value investors, a more-complicated metric called EV/EBITDA is sometimes viewed as a better alternative. EV/EBITDA, also referred to as the enterprise multiple, gives the true picture of a company’s valuation and earning potential. Additionally, it has a more comprehensive approach to valuation.
EV/EBITDA is essentially the enterprise value (EV) of a stock divided by its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). EV is the sum of a company’s market capitalization, its debt and preferred stock minus cash and cash equivalents. In a nutshell, it is the total value of a company.
The other element of the multiple, EBITDA, gives a clearer picture of a company’s profitability as it removes the impact of non-cash expenses like depreciation and amortization that depress net earnings. It is also often used as a proxy for cash flows.
Usually, the lower the EV/EBITDA ratio, the more attractive it is. A low EV/EBITDA ratio could signal that a stock is potentially undervalued.
EV/EBITDA takes into account the debt on a company’s balance sheet that P/E ratio does not. Given this reason, EV/EBITDA is usually used to value possible acquisition targets. Stocks with a low EV/EBITDA multiple could be seen as potential takeover candidates.
Moreover, P/E can’t be used to value a loss-making firm. A firm’s earnings are also subject to accounting estimates and management manipulation. On the other hand, EV/EBITDA is difficult to manipulate and can also be used to value companies that are making loss but are EBITDA-positive.
EV/EBITDA is also a useful yardstick in assessing the value of firms that are highly leveraged and have a high degree of depreciation. It can also be used to compare companies with different levels of debt.
However, EV/EBITDA has its limitations too. It varies across industries and is generally not appropriate while comparing stocks in different industries given their diverse capital spending requirements.
Hence, instead of solely relying on EV/EBITDA, you can club it with the other key ratios such as price-to-book (P/B), P/E and price-to-sales (P/S) to achieve the desired outcome.
Here are the parameters to screen for value stocks:
EV/EBITDA 12 Months-Most Recent less than X-Industry Median: A lower EV/EBITDA ratio represents a cheaper valuation.
P/E using (F1) less than X-Industry Median: This metric screens stocks that are trading at a discount to their peers.
P/B less than X-Industry Median: A lower P/B compared with the industry average implies that the stock is undervalued.
P/S less than X-Industry Median: The lower the P/S ratio the more attractive the stock is as investors will have to pay a smaller price for the same amount of sales generated by the company.
Estimated One-Year EPS Growth F(1)/F(0) greater than or equal to X-Industry Median: This parameter will help in screening stocks that have growth rates higher than the industry median. This is a meaningful indicator as decent earnings growth always adds to investor optimism.
Average 20-day Volume greater than or equal to 100,000: The addition of this metric ensures that shares can be traded easily.
Current Price greater than or equal to $5: This parameter will help in screening stocks that are trading at a minimum price of $5 or higher.
Zacks Rank less than or equal to 2: No screening is complete without the Zacks Rank, which has proven its worth since inception. It is a fundamental truth that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) have always managed to beat adversities and outperform the market.
Value Score of less than or equal to B: Our research shows that stocks with a Value Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 offer the best upside potential.
Here are five of the 10 stocks that passed the screen:
Credit Suisse Group AG CS provides private banking, investment banking and wealth management services globally. This Zacks Rank #1 stock has an expected year-over-year earnings growth rate of 33.2% for 2020. It also has a Value Score of B.
Amkor Technology, Inc. AMKR is one of the largest providers of semiconductor packaging and test services. This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected year-over-year earnings growth rate of 100% for the current year and a Value Score of A. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Oasis Midstream Partners LP OMP offers midstream services including gas gathering, compression, processing and gas lift services, crude gathering, stabilization, blending, storage and transportation services, produced water gathering and disposal services, and freshwater distribution services. This Zacks Rank #2 stock has expected year-over-year earnings growth of 15.2% for 2020 and a Value Score of A.
Tech Data Corporation is one of the leading wholesale distributors of information technology products, logistics management and other value-added services. This Zacks Rank #2 stock has expected year-over-year earnings growth of 10.1% for the current fiscal year and a Value Score of A.
NV5 Global, Inc. NVEE offers professional, technical consulting and certification solutions for the public and private sectors. This Zacks Rank #2 stock has an expected year-over-year earnings growth rate of 38.7% for 2020 and a Value Score of B.
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