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Bear Of The Day: Cars.com (CARS)

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Cars.com (CARS) is a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) and this comes as used car prices are spiking.  That is not something you want to see and that is the reason that this stock is now the Bear of the Day.


Cars.com Inc. operates an online automotive platform. The Company offers new and used vehicle listings, expert and consumer reviews, research tools and other information. It also engaged in the sale of display advertising to national advertisers. Cars.com Inc. is based in Chicago, United States.

Used Car Prices Spike

There are multiple reports about the price of used cars being up around 17% on a year over year basis.  This should be drawing a lot of people to sites like cars.com as they shop for the best deals. 

One site that is looking a lot better is CarGurus (CARG) as that stock has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and sports a great growth divergence with an A for Growth and a D for Value. I personally like this site a lot more than Cars.com --- as they offer some neat charts and good information.

Earnings History

I always look at the earnings history as it tells me if management can effectively communicate with Wall Street.  In the case of CARTS, I see three beats in the last four quarters. The one time the company didn’t beat the number it posted a big miss.

The most recent quarter has the company reporting 9 cents when 35 cents was expected.  That translates to a 26 cent miss or a negative 74% earnings surprise.  This is not what you want to see.

Earnings Estimates

I see estimates for this quarter are dropping down to 26 cents from 29 cents just 30 days ago

Next quarter is down to 27 cents from 29 cents over the same time period.

The full year only dropped one cent to $1.31, so that that bad.

Next year is holding still at $1.49.


The valuation isn’t that bad for CARS.  I see a 11x forward earnings multiple and a price to book of 3x.  Both of those levels are pretty low considering this is an asset slim business.  The price to sale multiple of 1.8x is also right were it should be.

Operating Margins dropped from 17% to 10.5% in the most recent quarter and that isn’t something that investors like to see. Contrast that to CARG which has seen margins increase in the last two quarters, moving from 8.8% to 12.9% and then 15.6% in the most recent quarter.


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Cars.com Inc. (CARS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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