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AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. (EQH) Hits Fresh High: Is There Still Room to Run?

Zacks Equity Research

Have you been paying attention to shares of AXA Equitable Holdings (EQH)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 10.6% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $23.65 in the previous session. AXA Equitable Holdings has gained 41.7% since the start of the year compared to the 17.3% move for the Zacks Finance sector and the 21.5% return for the Zacks Financial - Miscellaneous Services industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has an impressive 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 November 6, 2019, AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. reported EPS of $1.38 versus consensus estimate of $1.06.

For the current fiscal year, AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. is expected to post earnings of $4.55 per share on $13.22 billion in revenues. This represents a 16.97% change in EPS on a 9.83% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $4.68 per share on $13.51 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 2.86% and 2.24%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. 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 is due for a pullback from this level.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb 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. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are D and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 5.2X current fiscal year EPS estimates. 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 look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.

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 AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. passes the test. Thus, it seems as though AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. shares could have a bit more room to run in the near term.

How Does AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. have been moving higher, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including On Deck Capital (ONDK), PRA Group (PRAA), and McGrath RentCorp (MGRC), all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.

However, it is worth noting that the Zacks Industry Rank for this group is in the bottom half of the ranking, so it isn't all good news for AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. Still, the fundamentals for AXA Equitable Holdings, Inc. are promising, and it still has potential despite being at a 52-week high.


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