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Can Value Investors Consider Banner Corporation (BANR) Stock?

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 Banner Corporation BANR 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, Banner Corporation has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 12.6, 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 17.8. Also, if we focus on the long-term PE trend, Banner Corporation’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint of 17.01 over the past five years.

Further, the stock’s PE compares quite favorably with the Finance Market’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 13.66. This indicates that the stock is quite undervalued right now, compared to its peers.

However, Banner Corporation has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 13.22, which is higher than the current level. So, it is fair to expect an increase in the share price in the times ahead.

P/CF Ratio

An often-overlooked ratio that can still be a great indicator of value is the price/cash flow metric. This ratio doesn’t take amortization and depreciation into account, so can give a more accurate picture of the financial health in a business. This is a preferred metric to some valuation investors because cash flows are (a) generally less prone to manipulation by the company’s management, and (b) are less affected by variation in accounting policies between different companies.

The ratio is generally applied to find out whether a company’s stock is overpriced or underpriced with reference to its cash flows generation potential compared with its competitors. However, it is not commonly used for cross-industry comparison, as the average price to cash flow ratio varies from industry to industry.

In this case, Banner Corporation’s P/CF ratio of 6.99 is much lower than the Zacks Finance industry average of 26.33, which indicates that the stock is undervalued in this respect.

Broad Value Outlook

In aggregate, Banner Corporation currently has a Value Score of B, putting it into the top 40% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Banner Corporation a solid choice for value investors.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Banner Corporation 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 C and a Momentum Score of D. This gives BANR a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of C. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)

Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been downbeat. The current quarter has seen no upward and four downward revisions in the past sixty days, while the full year estimate has seen one upward revision versus four downward revisions in the same time period.

This has had a negative impact on the consensus estimate as the current quarter consensus estimate has dipped 6.3% over the past two months, while the full year estimate has decreased 7.6%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Banner Corporation Price and Consensus

Banner Corporation Price and Consensus

Banner Corporation price-consensus-chart | Banner Corporation Quote

Such bearish 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

Banner Corporation is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Despite, a strong industry rank (among Top 38% of more than 250 industries), with a Zacks Rank #3, it is hard to get too excited about the stock.

In fact, 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 the rank and industry performance to turn around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick.

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