CWCO vs. GWRS: Which Stock Should Value Investors Buy Now?
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 United Rentals, Inc. URI 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:
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, United Rentals has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 13.9, 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 20.0. If we focus on the stock’s long-term PE trend, the current level puts United Rentals’ current PE ratio slightly above its midpoint (which is 13.1) 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 17.6. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.
We should also point out that United Rentals has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 10.5, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for United Rentals’ stock in the near term too.
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, United Rentals has a P/S ratio of about 2.0. This is noticeably lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.3 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is somewhat below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.
If anything, this suggests some level of undervalued trading—at least compared to historical norms.
Broad Value Outlook
In aggregate, United Rentals currently has a Value Style Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes URI a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.
For example, the PEG ratio for United Rentals is just 0.6, a level that is marginally lower than the industry average of 0.9. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate. Additionally, its P/CF ratio (another great indicator of value) comes in at 6.1, which is slightly better than the industry average of 10.5. Clearly, URI is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.
What About the Stock Overall?
Though United Rentals 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 C and a Momentum score of F. This gives URI a 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 encouraging. The current quarter has seen two estimates go higher in the past sixty days and one lower, while the full year estimate has seen five upward and no downward revisions in the same time period.
This has had a favorable impact on the consensus estimate, as the current quarter consensus estimate has inched up 0.3% in the past two months, while the full year estimate has risen nearly 3.9%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:
United Rentals, Inc. Price and Consensus
United Rentals, Inc. Price and Consensus | United Rentals, Inc. Quote
This somewhat favorable trend is why the stock has just a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and why we are looking for better performance from the company in the near term.
United Rentals is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Boasting a good industry rank (top 10% out of more than 250 industries) and a strong Zacks Rank, the company deserves attention right now. In fact, over the past two years, the sector has clearly outperformed the broader market, as you can see below:
So, it might pay for value investors to delve deeper into the company’s prospects, as fundamentals indicate that this stock could be a compelling pick.
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