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 The AES Corporation AES 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:
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, AES Corp. has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 11.21. This level compares considerably favorably with the market at large, as the PE ratio for the S&P 500 comes in at about 20.06.
If we focus on the long-term trend of the stock the current level puts AES Corp.’s current PE near its median (which stands at 11.16) over the observed period. Also, the current level is much below the highs experienced for the stock over the period, suggesting some level of undervalued trading in light of its own historical trend.
Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Zacks classified Utility – Electric Power industry’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 14.06. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.
We should also point out that AES Corp. has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 10.86, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for AES Corp. stock in the near term too.
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, AES Corp. has a P/S ratio of about 0.54. This is lower than the Zacks categorized Utility – Electric Power industry average, which comes in at 1.20 right now.
If anything, LAZ is in the lower end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, suggesting some level of undervalued trading—at least compared to historical norms.
Broad Value Outlook
In aggregate, AES Corp. 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 AES Corp. a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.
For example, the PEG ratio for AES Corp. is just 2.17, a level that is lower than the industry average of 3.28. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate. Additionally, its P/CF ratio (another great indicator of value) comes in at 2.63, which is far better than the industry average of 7.25. Clearly, AES is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.
What About the Stock Overall?
Though AES Corp. 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 ‘F’. This gives AES a Zacks VGM score—or its overarching fundamental grade—of ‘A’. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)
Our VGM Score identifies stocks that have the most attractive value, growth, and momentum characteristics, and a good VGM score can increase your odds of success. All things considered, AES Corp. seems to have pretty striking prospects.
Meanwhile, the company’s earnings estimates have been mixed at best. The current quarter has seen one estimate go higher in the past sixty days compared to none lower, while the full year estimate has seen no upward revisions and two downward revisions in the same time period.
This has had no impact on the consensus estimate though as the current quarter and current year estimates have remained constant over the past two months. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:
The AES Corporation Price and Consensus
The AES Corporation Price and Consensus | The AES Corporation Quote
This stable trend is why the stock has just a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) despite strong value metrics and why we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.
AES Corp. is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. However, with a sluggish industry rank (Bottom 32% out of more than 250 industries) and a Zacks Rank #3, it is hard to get too excited about this company overall. In fact, over the past year, the Zacks Utilities – Electric Power industry has clearly underperformed the broader market, as you can see below:
So, value investors might want to wait for estimates and analyst sentiment to turn around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick.
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