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TGT or COST: Which Is the Better Value Stock Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

Investors with an interest in Retail - Discount Stores stocks have likely encountered both Target (TGT) and Costco (COST). But which of these two stocks is more attractive to value investors? We'll need to take a closer look to find out.

The best way to find great value stocks is to pair a strong Zacks Rank with an impressive grade in the Value category of our Style Scores system. The Zacks Rank is a proven strategy that targets companies with positive earnings estimate revision trends, while our Style Scores work to grade companies based on specific traits.

Target has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy), while Costco has a Zacks Rank of #3 (Hold) right now. This means that TGT's earnings estimate revision activity has been more impressive, so investors should feel comfortable with its improving analyst outlook. However, value investors will care about much more than just this.

Value investors analyze a variety of traditional, tried-and-true metrics to help find companies that they believe are undervalued at their current share price levels.

The Value category of the Style Scores system identifies undervalued companies by looking at a number of key metrics. These include the long-favored P/E ratio, P/S ratio, earnings yield, cash flow per share, and a variety of other fundamentals that help us determine a company's fair value.

TGT currently has a forward P/E ratio of 17.51, while COST has a forward P/E of 34.25. We also note that TGT has a PEG ratio of 2.47. This popular metric is similar to the widely-known P/E ratio, with the difference being that the PEG ratio also takes into account the company's expected earnings growth rate. COST currently has a PEG ratio of 3.86.

Another notable valuation metric for TGT is its P/B ratio of 4.63. The P/B ratio is used to compare a stock's market value with its book value, which is defined as total assets minus total liabilities. For comparison, COST has a P/B of 8.65.

These metrics, and several others, help TGT earn a Value grade of A, while COST has been given a Value grade of D.

TGT is currently sporting an improving earnings outlook, which makes it stick out in our Zacks Rank model. And, based on the above valuation metrics, we feel that TGT is likely the superior value option right now.


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