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Can Value Investors Consider AECOM (ACM) a Profitable Pick?

Zacks Equity Research

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 AECOM ACM 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, AECOM has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 13.5, as you can see in the chart below:

This level actually compares quite favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 18.54. However, if we focus on the long-term PE trend, AECOM’s current PE level puts it above its midpoint of 11.73 over the past five years..

The stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Construction Market’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 16.69. This indicates that the stock is undervalued right now, compared to its peers.

Meanwhile, AECOM has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 13.63, which is slightly higher than the current level. So, it is fair to expect an increase in the share price 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, AECOM has a P/S ratio of 0.3. This is quite lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.27x 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.

Broad Value Outlook

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

For example, the PEG ratio for AECOM is just 1.46, a level that is slightly lower than the industry average of 1.55. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though AECOM 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 B. This gives ACM 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 down in the past sixty days compared to no upward revision, while the full year estimate has seen two down and one up in the same time period.

This has had a mixed effect on the consensus estimate. While the current-quarter consensus estimate has remained stable over the past two months, the full-year estimate has inched down 0.4%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

AECOM Price and Consensus

AECOM Price and Consensus

AECOM price-consensus-chart | AECOM Quote

Such mixed analyst sentiments is the reason why the stock has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and why we are looking for in line performance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

AECOM is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. With a sluggish industry rank (among Bottom 310% of more than 250 industries) and a Zacks Rank #3 it is hard to get too excited about the stock.

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

So, value investors might want to wait for analyst sentiments, industry and Zacks ranks to turn around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick.

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