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Should Value Investors Pick Central Pacific Financial (CPF) 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 Central Pacific Financial Corp. CPF 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, Central Pacific Financial has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 19.3, as you can see in the chart below:

This level actually compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 compares in at about 21.3. If we focus on the stock’s long-term PE trend, the current level puts Central Pacific Financial’s current PE ratio somewhat above its midpoint (which is 17.5) over the past five years.

Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the industry’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 19.6. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.

We should also point out that Central Pacific Financial has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 18.9, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Central Pacific Financial’s stock in the near term too.  

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, Central Pacific Financial’s P/CF ratio of 12.8 is slightly lower than the industry average of 15.9, which indicates that the stock is somewhat undervalued in this respect.

Broad Value Outlook

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

For example, the P/CF ratio (another great indicator of value) comes in at 12.8, which is somewhat better than the industry average of 15.7. Clearly, CPF is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Central Pacific Financial 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 grade of F and a Momentum score of B. This gives CPF a 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 mixed at best. The full-year 2017 has seen two estimates go lower in the past sixty days, compared to none higher, while the full-year 2018 estimate has seen one upward and no downward revisions in the same time period.

This has had a noticeable impact on the consensus estimate, as the full-year 2017 consensus estimate has fallen nearly 1.8% in the past two months, while the full-year 2018 estimate has inched up 0.6%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

CPB Inc. Price and Consensus

 

CPB Inc. Price and Consensus | CPB Inc. Quote

This somewhat mixed trend is why the stock has just a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and why we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

Central Pacific Financial is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Moreover, a decent industry rank (top 39% out of more than 250 industries) further supports the growth potential of the stock. However, with a Zacks Rank #3, it is hard to get too excited about this company overall. In fact, over the past one year, the sector has clearly underperformed the broader market, as you can see below:

So, value investors might want to wait for estimates and analyst sentiment to turn favorable in this name first, but once that happen, this stock could be a compelling pick.

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