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Should Value Investors Buy Unum (UNM) Stock?

Zacks Equity Research
Some investors are rotating out of earlier high flying technology stocks into cheap emerging markets.

While the proven Zacks Rank places an emphasis on earnings estimates and estimate revisions to find strong stocks, we also know that investors tend to develop their own individual strategies. With this in mind, we are always looking at value, growth, and momentum trends to discover great companies.

Of these, perhaps no stock market trend is more popular than value investing, which is a strategy that has proven to be successful in all sorts of market environments. Value investors use fundamental analysis and traditional valuation metrics to find stocks that they believe are being undervalued by the market at large.

On top of the Zacks Rank, investors can also look at our innovative Style Scores system to find stocks with specific traits. For example, value investors will want to focus on the "Value" category. Stocks with high Zacks Ranks and "A" grades for Value will be some of the highest-quality value stocks on the market today.

One stock to keep an eye on is Unum (UNM). UNM is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy), as well as an A grade for Value. The stock is trading with P/E ratio of 6.95 right now. For comparison, its industry sports an average P/E of 9.97. Over the past 52 weeks, UNM's Forward P/E has been as high as 13.19 and as low as 6.30, with a median of 7.46.

We also note that UNM holds a PEG ratio of 0.77. This popular figure is similar to the widely-used P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also considers a company's expected EPS growth rate. UNM's PEG compares to its industry's average PEG of 1.16. Over the last 12 months, UNM's PEG has been as high as 1.88 and as low as 0.70, with a median of 1.06.

Investors should also recognize that UNM has a P/B ratio of 0.98. 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. This stock's P/B looks solid versus its industry's average P/B of 1.29. UNM's P/B has been as high as 1.37 and as low as 0.81, with a median of 0.98, over the past year.

Value investors also use the P/S ratio. The P/S ratio is is calculated as price divided by sales. This is a prefered metric because revenue can't really be manipulated, so sales are often a truer performance indicator. UNM has a P/S ratio of 0.7. This compares to its industry's average P/S of 1.67.

These are just a handful of the figures considered in Unum's great Value grade. Still, they help show that the stock is likely being undervalued at the moment. Add this to the strength of its earnings outlook, and we can clearly see that UNM is an impressive value stock right now.


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