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Air Transport Services (ATSG) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Zacks Equity Research
·3 min read

Shares of Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 16.7% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $29.06 in the previous session. Air Transport Services Group has gained 22.9% since the start of the year compared to the 7.3% move for the Zacks Transportation sector and the 73.6% return for the Zacks Transportation - Air Freight and Cargo industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has a great record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on August 5, 2020, Air Transport Services reported EPS of $0.47 versus consensus estimate of $0.31 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 5.13%.

For the current fiscal year, Air Transport Services is expected to post earnings of $1.52 per share on $1.56 billion in revenues. This represents a 0.66% change in EPS on a 7.31% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $1.72 per share on $1.75 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 13.32% and 12.15%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Air Transport Services may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as they provide investors with an additional way to sort through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. Investors should consider the style scores a valuable tool that can help you to pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Air Transport Services has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and D, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 19X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 4.3X versus its peer group's average of 5.8X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Air Transport Services currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Air Transport Services passes the test. Thus, it seems as though Air Transport Services shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.


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