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Add These 4 Low P/CF Stocks to Portfolio for Optimum Returns

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·7 min read
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The year 2022 might be a bit challenging for the stock market, thanks to rising inflation and supply chain bottlenecks that may decelerate the speed of the economic recovery, at least in the first half. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve’s aggressive stance to tighten monetary policy and raise interest rates as soon as March to tame inflation have compelled investors to fasten their seat belt. Also, escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been unsettling the market for now. This calls for a prudent investment strategy, as it will be difficult to generate the kind of return registered last year, given the current scenario.

So, as investors rebalance their portfolios, market pundits are placing their bets on value stocks. Investment in stocks made on diligent value analysis is usually considered one of the best practices. In value investing, investors pick stocks that are cheap but fundamentally sound. There are a number of ratios to identify value stocks but none alone can conclusively determine their inherent potential.

Each ratio helps an investor understand a particular aspect of the company’s business. One such ratio, Price to Cash Flow (or P/CF), can work wonders in stock picking if used prudently. This metric evaluates the market price of a stock relative to the amount of cash flow that the company is generating on a per-share basis – the lower the number, the better.

You must be wondering why we are considering this when the most widely used valuation metric is Price/Earnings (or P/E). Well, one of the important factors that make P/CF a highly dependable metric is that operating cash flow adds back non-cash charges such as depreciation and amortization to net income, truly diagnosing a company’s financial health.

Analysts caution that a company’s earnings are subject to accounting estimates and management manipulation. Then again, cash flow is quite reliable. Net cash flow unveils how much money a company generates and how effectively management is deploying the same.

A positive cash flow indicates an increase in the company’s liquid assets. This gives the company the means to settle debt, meet its expenses, reinvest in business, endure downturns and finally undertake shareholder-friendly moves. Negative cash flow implies a decline in the company’s liquidity, which, in turn, lowers its flexibility to support these endeavors.

However, an investment decision solely based on the P/CF metric may not fetch the desired results. To identify stocks that are trading at a discount, you should expand your search criteria and take into account price-to-book ratio, price-to-earnings ratio and price-to-sales ratio. Adding a favorable Zacks Rank and a Value Score of A or B to your search criteria should lead to even better results as these eliminate the chance of falling into a value trap.

The Bargain Hunting Strategy

Here are the parameters for selecting true value stocks:

P/CF less than or equal to X-Industry Median.

Price greater than or equal to 5: The stocks must all be trading at a minimum of $5 or higher.

Average 20-Day Volume greater than 100,000: A substantial trading volume ensures that the stock is easily tradable.

P/E using (F1) less than or equal to X-Industry Median: This parameter shortlists stocks that are trading at a discount or are equal to its peers.

P/B less than or equal to X-Industry Median: A lower P/B compared with the industry average implies that there is enough room for the stock to gain.

P/S less than or equal to X-Industry Median: The P/S ratio determines how a stock price compares to the company’s sales — the lower the ratio the more attractive the stock is.

PEG less than 1: The ratio is used to determine a stock's value by taking the company's earnings growth into account. PEG ratio gives a more complete picture than P/E ratio. A value of less than 1 indicates that the stock is undervalued and that investors need to pay less for a stock that has robust earnings growth prospect.

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.

Value Score of less than or equal to B: Our research shows that stocks with a Style Score of A or B when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 or 2 offer the best upside potential.

Here are four of the 20 stocks that qualified the screening:

Avnet, Inc. AVT, a leading global technology distributor and solutions provider, has a Zacks Rank #1 and an expected EPS growth rate of 28.8% for three-five years. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 18.7%, on average. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Avnet’s current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 16.2% and 109.2%, respectively, from the year-ago period. AVT has a Value Score of B. The stock has appreciated 10.2% in the past year.

KB Home KBH, one of the largest and most recognized homebuilders in the United States, sports a Zacks Rank #1. It has an expected EPS growth rate of 17.1% for three-five years. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 11%, on average.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for KB Home's current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 30.1% and 67.9%, respectively, from the year-ago period. KBH has a Value Score of A. The stock has fallen 6.2% in the past year.

Signet Jewelers Limited SIG, the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry, carries a Zacks Rank #2. It has an expected EPS growth rate of 8% for three-five years. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 77.2%, on average.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Signet's current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 48.9% and 475.8%, respectively, from the year-ago period. SIG has a Value Score of A. The stock has zoomed 57.5% in the past year.

Penske Automotive Group, Inc. PAG, a diversified international transportation services company and one of the world's premier automotive and commercial truck retailers, has a Zacks Rank #2 and an expected EPS growth rate of 20.9% for three-five years. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 18.7%, on average.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Penske Automotive Group’s current financial year sales suggests growth of 7.5% from the year-ago period. PAG has a Value Score of A. The stock has advanced 51.1% in the past year.

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 backtest 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 Research Wizard trial 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.


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Avnet, Inc. (AVT) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Penske Automotive Group, Inc. (PAG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Signet Jewelers Limited (SIG) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
KB Home (KBH) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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