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Is Meritage Homes (MTH) a Great Stock 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 Meritage Homes Corporation (MTH - 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, Meritage Homes has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 8.44, as you can see in the chart below:




This level actually compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 17.96. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Meritage Homes’ current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.




Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the industry’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 10.30. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.




However, we should point out that Meritage Homes has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 8.66, so we might say that the forward earnings estimates indicate that the company’s share price will likely appreciate 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, Meritage Homes has a P/S ratio of about 0.58. This is significantly lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.12 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.




As we can see, the stock is trading near its median value for the time period from a P/S metric. This does not provide us with a conclusive direction as to the relative valuation of the stock in comparison to its historical trend.

Broad Value Outlook

In aggregate, Meritage Homes currently has a Zacks Value Style Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Meritage Homes a solid choice for value investors.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Meritage Homes 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 grade of A and a Momentum score of C. This gives MTH 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 as well as the full year estimate has seen four upward and three downward revisions in the past two months.

Consequently, the current quarter consensus estimate has risen by 3.7% in the past two months, while the full year estimate has increased 1.5%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

This somewhat favorable trend is why the stock has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and why we are looking for outperformance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

Meritage Homes is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. With a formidable industry rank (among the Top 6%) and strong Zacks Rank, Meritage Homes looks like a strong value contender. In fact, over the past three years, the industry has outperformed the broader market, 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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