Investment in stocks made on analysis of valuation metrics is usually considered one of the best practices. When considering valuation metrics, price-to-earnings ratio has always been the obvious choice. This is because calculations based on earnings are easy and come in handy. However, price-to-sales has emerged as a convenient tool to determine the value of stocks that are incurring losses or are in an early cycle of development, generating meager or no profits.
While a loss-making company with a negative price-to-earnings ratio falls out of investor favor, its price-to-sales could indicate the hidden strength of its business. This underrated ratio is also used to identify a recovery situation or ensure that a company's growth is not overvalued. A stock’s price-to-sales ratio reflects how much investors are paying for each dollar of revenues generated by a company. If the price-to-sales ratio is 1, it means that investors are paying $1 for every $1 of revenues generated by the company. So, it goes without saying that a stock with a price-to-sales below 1 is a good bargain, as investors need to pay less than a dollar for a dollar’s worth. Thus, a stock with a lower price-to-sales ratio is a more suitable investment than a stock with a high price-to-sales ratio. Price-to-sales is often preferred over price-to-earnings as companies can manipulate their earnings using various accounting measures. However, sales are harder to manipulate and are relatively reliable. However, one should keep in mind that a company with high debt and low price-to-sales is not an ideal choice. The high debt level will have to be paid off at some point, leading to further share issuance, rise in market cap and ultimately a higher price-to-sales ratio. In any case, the price-to-sales ratio used in isolation cannot do the trick. One should also analyze other ratios like Price/Earnings, Price/Book and Debt/Equity before arriving at any investment decision. Screening Parameters Price to Sales less than Median Price to Sales for its Industry: The lower the price-to-sales ratio, the better. Price to Earnings using F(1) estimate less than Median Price to Earnings for its Industry: The lower, the better. Price to Book (common Equity) less than Median Price to Book for its Industry: This is another parameter to ensure the value feature of a stock. Debt to Equity (Most Recent) less than Median Debt to Equity for its Industry: A company with less debt should have a stable price-to-sales ratio. Current Price greater than or equal to $5: The stocks must all be trading at a minimum of $5 or higher. Zacks Rank less than or equal to #2: Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) stocks are known to outperform irrespective of the market environment. 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 opportunities in the value investing space. Value Score less than or equal to B: Here are seven of the 16 stocks that qualified the screening: MGM Growth Properties LLC ( MGP Quick Quote MGP - Free Report) engages in owning, acquiring, and leasing casino resort properties in the United States. The resorts provide casino gaming, hotel, convention, dining, entertainment, retail and other amenities. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #1 and a Value Score of B. It also has an estimated 3–5 year EPS growth rate of 9.2%. Darling Ingredients Inc. DAR produces, and sells natural ingredients from edible and inedible bio-nutrients. It offers ingredients and customized specialty solutions to customers in the pharmaceutical, food, pet food, feed, industrial, fuel, bio-energy, and fertilizer industries. This Zacks Rank #2 company has a Value Score of A. Englewood, CO-based DISH Network Corp. DISH is a holding company and operates two primary business segments — Pay-TV and Wireless. The company offers pay-TV services under the DISH and Sling brands. The company has invested over $11 billion to acquire certain wireless spectrum licenses and related assets since 2008. The company also has non-controlling investments in certain entities. The stock currently has a Value Score of B and a Zacks Rank #2. Miamisburg, OH-based Verso Corporation VRS is a producer and seller of coated papers in North America. It mainly produces papers used in commercial printing, media and marketing applications, including magazines, catalogs, books, direct mail, corporate collateral and retail inserts. It operates through two segments, Paper and Pulp. The stock currently has a Value Score of A and a Zacks Rank #1. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here Rocky Brands RCKY is a manufacturer and seller of footwear and apparel in the United States, Canada and internationally. It sells products under the Rocky, Georgia Boot, Durango, Lehigh, Creative Recreation and Michelin brands. The stock currently has a Value Score of A and a Zacks Rank #1. Hilltop Holdings Inc. HTH is a financial holding company registered under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956. It provides consumer and business banking services through PlainsCapital Bank. It offers a wide range of financial products and services through broker-dealer (Hilltop Securities Inc. and Hilltop Securities Independent Network Inc.), mortgage origination (PrimeLending) and insurance (National Lloyds Corporation) divisions. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2 and a Value Score of A. Westlake Chemical Partners LP WLKP operates, acquires and develops ethylene production facilities and related assets in the United States. It also sells ethylene co-products, including propylene, crude butadiene, pyrolysis gasoline, and hydrogen directly to third parties on a spot or a contract basis. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #1 and a Value Score of A. It has a 3–5 year EPS growth rate of 16%. You can get the rest of the stocks on this list by signing up now for your 2-week free trial to the Research Wizard and start using this screen in your own trading. Further, you can also create your own strategies and test them first before taking the investment plunge. The Research Wizard is a great place to begin. It's easy to use. Everything is in plain language. And it's very intuitive. Start your trial to the Research Wizard today. And the next time you read an economic report, open up the Research Wizard, plug your finds in, and see what gems come out. . Click here to sign up for a free trial to the Research Wizard today Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. Disclosure: Performance information for Zacks’ portfolios and strategies are available at: . https://www.zacks.com/performance