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Stride, Inc. (LRN) Hit a 52 Week High, Can the Run Continue?

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Have you been paying attention to shares of K12 (LRN)? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 5.3% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $41.84 in the previous session. K12 has gained 12.5% since the start of the year compared to the -27.4% move for the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector and the -8.4% return for the Zacks Schools 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 April 19, 2022, K12 reported EPS of $1.02 versus consensus estimate of $0.84 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 2.76%.

For the current fiscal year, K12 is expected to post earnings of $2.53 per share on $1.65 billion in revenues. This represents a 47.95% change in EPS on a 7.61% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $2.70 per share on $1.75 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 6.72% and 5.57%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

K12 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 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.

K12 has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are A and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 14.8X current fiscal year EPS estimates, which is not in-line with the peer industry average of 16.2X. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 9X versus its peer group's average of 7X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 0.74. 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, K12 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 K12 meets the list of requirements. Thus, it seems as though K12 shares could have a bit more room to run in the near term.

How Does LRN Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of LRN have been soaring, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? One industry peer that looks good is Afya Limited (AFYA). AFYA has a Zacks Rank of # 1 (Strong Buy) and a Value Score of C, a Growth Score of B, and a Momentum Score of A.

Earnings were strong last quarter. Afya Limited beat our consensus estimate by 13.33%, and for the current fiscal year, AFYA is expected to post earnings of $1.06 per share on revenue of $492.17 million.

Shares of Afya Limited have gained 3.1% over the past month, and currently trade at a forward P/E of 11.43X and a P/CF of 15.94X.

The Schools industry is in the top 35% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for LRN and AFYA, even beyond their own solid fundamental situation.

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