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Epam (EPAM) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Zacks Equity Research
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Have you been paying attention to shares of EPAM Systems (EPAM)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 15.9% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $146.43 in the previous session. EPAM Systems has gained 25.2% since the start of the year compared to the 11.3% move for the Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the 15.9% return for the Zacks Computers - IT 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 1, 2018, Epam reported EPS of $1.17 versus consensus estimate of $1.05.

For the current fiscal year, Epam is expected to post earnings of $5.18 per share on $1.84 billion in revenues. Meanwhile, for the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $6.15 per share on $2.25 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 19.73% and 22.11%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Epam 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.

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

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 28X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 41.3X versus its peer group's average of 14.8X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 1.43. 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, Epam 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 Epam fits the bill. Thus, it seems as though Epam shares could still be poised for more gains ahead.

How Does Epam Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of Epam have been rising, 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 impressive, including ASGN (ASGN), Dell Technologies (DELL), and DXC Technology Company. (DXC), 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.

The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 11% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Epam, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation.

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