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, Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. AHT 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, Ashford Hospitality Trust has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 2.24, 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 19.38. If we focus on the stock’s long-term PE trend, the current level Ashford Hospitality Trust puts current PE ratio below its midpoint (which is 4.47) over the past five years.
Also, the stock’s PE compares favorably with the Zacks Finance sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 14.69. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.
We should also point out that Ashford Hospitality Trust has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 2.29, so it is fair to expect an increase in the company’s share price in the near future.
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, Ashford Hospitality Trust has a P/S ratio of about 0.18. This is somewhat lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.35 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.
If anything, this suggests some level of undervalued trading–at least compared to historical norms.
Broad Value Outlook
In aggregate, Ashford Hospitality Trust currently has a Value Style Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes AHT a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other metrics make it clear too.
Its P/CF ratio (another great indicator of value) comes in at 1.44, which is noticeably better than the industry average of 14.82. Clearly, AHT is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.
What About the Stock Overall?
Though Ashford Hospitality Trust 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 D. This gives AHT 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 disappointing. The current quarter has seen two estimates go lower in the past sixty days compared to one higher, while current year estimate has seen three downward and one upward revision in the same time period.
This has had a noticeable impact on the consensus estimate as the current quarter consensus estimate has declined 5.3% in the past two months, while the current year has fallen 1.7% in the same time period. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:
Ashford Hospitality Trust Inc Price and Consensus
This negative trend is why the stock has just a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) despite strong value metrics and why we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.
Ashford Hospitality Trust is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Moreover, a strong industry rank (Top 37% out of more than 250 industries) further supports the growth potential of the stock. 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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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.