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Is Royal Caribbean (RCL) a Great Stock for Value Investors?

Payel Dhar

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 Royal Caribbean Cruises RCL 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:

PE Ratio

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, Royal Caribbean has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 13.2, as you can see in the chart below:


 
This level actually compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 17.5. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Royal Caribbean’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.


 
Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 21.7. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.


 
We should also point out that Royal Caribbean has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 12, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Royal Caribbean stock in the near term too.

P/S Ratio

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, Royal Caribbean has a P/S ratio of about 2.6. This is a bit lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.2 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.


 
If anything, RCL is towards the higher end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, which suggests that the company’s stock price has already appreciated to some degree, relative to its sales.

Broad Value Outlook

In aggregate, Royal Caribbean currently has a Value Score of B, putting it into the top 40% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Royal Caribbean a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.

For example, the PEG ratio for Royal Caribbean is just 0.9, a level that is far lower than the industry average of 1.2. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Royal Caribbean 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 Score of B and a Momentum Score of A. This gives RCL a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of B. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)

Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been mixed at best. The current quarter has seen one estimate go higher in the past sixty days compared to three lower, while the full year estimate has seen nine up and one down in the same time period.

This has had just a mixed impact on the consensus estimate though as the current quarter consensus estimate has dropped by 5.9% in the past two months, while the full year estimate has risen by 1.4%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Price and Consensus

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Price and Consensus | Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Quote

The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has a long-term growth of 14%, which is why we are looking for outperformance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

Royal Caribbean is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Further, a strong industry rank (among Top 29% of more than 250 industries) instills our confidence.

However, over the past two years, the broader industry has clearly underperformed the market at large, as you can see below:

 


 
We believe, despite an unsatisfactory past industry performance, a good industry and Zacks rank signal that the stock is likely to benefit from favorable broader factors in the immediate future. Add to this robust value metrics, and we believe that we have a strong value contender in Royal Caribbean.

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