There are a lot of ways to categorize stocks, but one of the most popular is to push them into either "growth" or "value" buckets. In fact, the argument over whether growth investing or value investing is more effective is as old as the market itself. (See also: Investing in Growth vs. Value in 2016.)
If you follow Warren Buffett, you're probably more in favor of the value investing model. Buffett is a disciple of Benjamin Graham, the king of value investing. Essentially, value investors seek to identify the intrinsic value of an equity based on its future earnings potential relative to its peers. (See also: Warren Buffett's Investing Style Reviewed.)
In 2016 value stocks outperformed growth stocks by a wide margin. Growth stocks regained some ground in 2017 but a mix of growth and value in a diversified portfolio is always important and value stocks can help to hedge against some of the high risks involved with growth stocks.
If you're rebalancing your portfolio in 2018 to increase value stock allocations, here's a look at a few top value stocks that may be poised to break out and deliver better-than-average long-term gains. (See also: Stock-Picking Strategies: Value Investing.)
Note: Short-term liabilities coverage, price to earnings and performance momentum were key factors considered in identifying these companies. All figures are as of December 29, 2017.
In 2017 Twitter reported a 49.14% gain. The social media company scores high in the value category for its current ratio and free cash flow levels. Analysts have a high target price for the stock of $27.
Current assets for Twitter cover current liabilities by ten times, giving it a current ratio of 10.40. Trailing twelve-month free cash flow is $663.74 million which gives it a free cash flow to market cap of 3.68%. The high liabilities coverage and free cash flow gives significant latitude for expansion, new development and potentially a dividend.
In December 2017, JPMorgan upgraded the stock to overweight and named it one of the best ideas for 2018. The stock is trading at $24 after gaining 16.67% in December 2017. JPMorgan’s upgrade of the stock also included an increased price target of $27. Projections for 2018 signal the stock could see further gains with revenue estimated to increase from $2.42 billion to $2.69 billion and earnings per share estimated to increase from 48 cents to 68 cents.
Zillow Group Inc. (Z, ZG)
Zillow is another company reporting a relatively high current ratio with excess cash. The company has a current ratio of 6.44. Free cash flow is $136.88 million giving it a free cash flow to market cap of 1.75%.
Zillow is based in Seattle, Washington. The company offers two stock shares classes with representative ticker symbols Z and ZG.
Zillow has been reporting substantial revenue growth over the past three years. One-year revenue growth is 31.32% and three-year annualized revenue growth is 62.43%. Third quarter earnings further supported the company’s value potential with revenue through September 30, 2017 increasing to $794.5 million from $619.0 million in 2016. Earnings per share were also higher at 36 cents versus -65 cents. Comparable third quarter revenue gained 25.5% and earnings per share beat expectations by 2 cents at 19 cents.
The firm’s CEO attributes some of the company’s success to the housing market, which has steadily improved with the advantage for sellers in 2017. YTD the stock has a gain of 13.31%. Three-year and five-year annualized total returns are 5.85% and 35.27%.
Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (LPX)
LPX reports a current ratio of 5.25 with free cash flow to market cap at 7.29%. Free cash flow for the trailing twelve months is $280.2 million. Louisiana-Pacific is another company set to benefit from further gains in the housing market. The company focuses on the manufacturing of building products for home construction, repair, remodeling and outdoor structures. One-year revenue growth for the firm is at 18% with trailing twelve-month revenue of $2.75 billion. In 2017 revenue was helped by sales for disaster relief and recovery across the U.S. resulting from natural disaster related damages.
Price to earnings continues to remain relatively low for LPX at 11.89. The firm has a YTD return of 40%. Three-year, five-year and ten-year annualized total returns are 16.51%, 7.40% and 7.03% respectively.
Iamgold Corp. (IAG)
IAG is a metals and mining company specifically focused on gold mining. The stock trades near penny stock levels at $5.84. The current ratio for the company is 4.78 and free cash flow is $85.7 million. Trailing twelve-month revenue is $1.1 billion with a one-year revenue growth rate of 7.64%. The company is one of the top performing metals and mining companies in 2017. Third quarter 2017 earnings showed gold production up 3%. Analysts believe revenue and earnings will gain in 2018. Revenue estimates show an increase from $1.1 billion to $1.32 billion. Earnings per share estimates show an increase from 13 cents to 17 cents.
IAG could be a good investment for investors taking bets on safe haven metals such as gold. YTD in 2017 the stock has gained 51.43%. The firm’s three-year annualized total return is also high at 33.32%. Target prices for the stock range from $6.25 to $9.09.
Sanderson Farms Inc. (SAFM)
Sanderson Farms also tops the list for potential value stock investments in 2018. This company has a current ratio of 4.28 with free cash flow of $242.2 million. Revenue and earnings per share have been steadily gaining for the consumer-packaged goods company. One-year revenue of $3.3 billion is up 18.68% for the year. Meanwhile one-year net income has gained 48.04% and one-year earnings per share growth is 46.95%. Three-year results show similar growth. Three-year annualized revenue growth is 6.40%. Three-year annualized net income growth is 3.95% and three-year annualized earnings per share growth is 4.43%.
YTD the company has a return of 52.67%. Its price to earnings still remains low at 11.92. Three-year, five-year and ten-year annualized total returns are also strong at 19.77%, 25.83% and 16.20% respectively.