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Is Children’s Place (PLCE) 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 The Children's Place, Inc. PLCE 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, Children's Place has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 17.32, 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 20.32. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Children's Place’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.

However, the stock’s PE compares unfavorably with the Zacks classified Retail – Apparel and Shoes industry’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 12.84. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively overvalued right now, compared to its peers.

We should also point out that Children's Place has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 14.58, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Children's Place 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, Children's Place has a P/S ratio of about 1.08. This is a bit lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.14 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, Children's Place 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 Children's Place a solid choice for value investors.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Children's Place 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 ‘A’. This gives PLCE 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 four estimates go higher in the past sixty days compared to none lower, while the full year estimate has seen five up and none down in the same time period.

This has had a significant impact on the consensus estimate though as the current quarter consensus estimate has risen by 516.7% in the past two months, while the full year estimate has also moved up by 9.5%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Children's Place, Inc. (The) Price and Consensus

Children's Place, Inc. (The) Price and Consensus | Children's Place, Inc. (The) Quote

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

Children's Place is an inspired choice for value investors, as it boasts a top Zacks Rank, the company deserves attention right now. However, the company’s prospects might be constrained due to adverse broader factors, as it has a sluggish industry rank (Bottom 9% out of more than 250 industries). In fact, over the past one year, the Zacks Retail – Apparel and Shoes industry has clearly underperformed the broader market, as you can see below:

So, value investors might want to wait for broader factors to turn around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick.

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