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Is Telecom Argentina (TEO) a Great Stock for Value Investors?

Zacks

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 Telecom Argentina S.A. TEO 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, Telecom Argentina has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 14.02, 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 19.68. If we focus on the stock’s long-term PE trend, the current level puts Telecom Argentina’s current PE ratio much above its midpoint (which is 7.98) over the past five years.


Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Zacks classified Wireline Non-US industry’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 32.18. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.

We should also point out that Telecom Argentina has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of 15.81, so it is fair to expect an increase in the company’s share price in the near future.

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, Telecom Argentina has a P/S ratio of about 1.25. This is substantially lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.05 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, Telecom Argentina is towards the higher end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, which suggests that the company’s stock price has already appreciated to some degree, relative to its sales.

Broad Value Outlook

In aggregate, Telecom Argentina currently has a Zacks Value Style Score of ‘A’, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes TEO a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.

For example, the PEG ratio for Telecom Argentina is just 1.63, a level that is somewhat lower than the industry average of 2.02. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate. Clearly, TEO is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Telecom Argentina 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 ‘A’ and a Momentum score of ‘C’. This gives TEO a Zacks VGM score—or its overarching fundamental grade—of ‘A’. (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 one estimate go higher in the past sixty days, compared to none lower, while the full year estimate has seen one 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 increased 6.7% in the past two months, while the full year estimate has risen by about 3.4%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

This bullish trend is why the stock boasts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and why we are expecting outperformance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

Telecom Argentina 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 23% out of more than 250 industries) and a top Zacks Rank, the company deserves attention right now. However, over the past one year, the Zacks Wireline Non-US sector has significantly underperformed the broader market, as you can see below:

Despite the poor past performance of the industry, a good industry rank signals that the stock is likely to benefit from favorable broader factors in the immediate future. Add to this the robust value metrics, and we believe that we have a strong value contender in Telecom Argentina.

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