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Banco Santander: Is SAN a Good Stock for Value Investors?


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 Banco Santander, S.A. SAN 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, Banco Santander has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 13.14, 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 stands at about 20.06. While Banco Santander’s current PE level puts it above its midpoint of 11.94 over the past five years, it stands below the recent highs for the stock – suggesting that it could be a good entry point.

Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Zacks classified Finance sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 15.27. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.

We should also point out that Banco Santander has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 12.57, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Banco Santander stock 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, Banco Santander has a P/S ratio of about 1.22. This is much lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.04 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is well below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.

Broad Value Outlook

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

For example, Banco Santander’s P/CF ratio (another great indicator of value) comes in at 1.91, which is far better than the industry average of 5.77. Clearly, SAN is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Banco Santander 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 ‘D’ and a Momentum score of ‘A’. This gives SAN a Zacks VGM score—or its overarching fundamental grade—of ‘B’. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)

Well, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been slightly encouraging, as the full year estimate has seen one upward and no downward revision in the last sixty days. This has had a positive impact on the consensus estimate, as the full year consensus estimate has risen by 2.2% in the past two months. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Banco Santander, S.A. Price and Consensus

Banco Santander, S.A. Price and Consensus | Banco Santander, S.A. Quote

This bullish trend is why the stock boasts a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and why we are looking for outperformance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

Banco Santander is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Apart from a strong Zacks Rank, the company also flaunts a solid industry rank (Top 18% out of over 250 industries), highlighting that the broader factors remain favorable for the company. In fact, over the past one year, the Zacks classified Banks – Foreign industry has 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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