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Should Value Investors Buy Encompass Health (EHC) Stock?

Here at Zacks, our focus is on the proven Zacks Rank system, which emphasizes earnings estimates and estimate revisions to find great stocks. Nevertheless, we are always paying attention to...

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Here at Zacks, we focus on our proven ranking system, which places an emphasis on earnings estimates and estimate revisions, to find winning stocks. But we also understand that investors develop their own strategies, so we are constantly looking at the latest trends in value, growth, and momentum to find strong companies for our readers.

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Looking at the history of these trends, perhaps none is more beloved than value investing. This strategy simply looks to identify companies that are being undervalued by the broader market. Value investors use fundamental analysis and traditional valuation metrics to find stocks that they believe are being undervalued by the market at large.

Zacks has developed the innovative Style Scores system to highlight stocks with specific traits. For example, value investors will be interested in stocks with great grades in the "Value" category. When paired with a high Zacks Rank, "A" grades in the Value category are among the strongest value stocks on the market today.

Encompass Health (EHC) is a stock many investors are watching right now. EHC is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy), as well as an A grade for Value. The stock holds a P/E ratio of 15.56, while its industry has an average P/E of 26.64. EHC's Forward P/E has been as high as 24.38 and as low as 15.56, with a median of 20.97, all within the past year.

We also note that EHC holds a PEG ratio of 0.86. This popular metric is similar to the widely-known P/E ratio, with the difference being that the PEG ratio also takes into account the company's expected earnings growth rate. EHC's PEG compares to its industry's average PEG of 0.94. Over the past 52 weeks, EHC's PEG has been as high as 9.86 and as low as 0.86, with a median of 1.44.

We should also highlight that EHC has a P/B ratio of 3.26. Investors use the P/B ratio to look at a stock's market value versus its book value, which is defined as total assets minus total liabilities. This company's current P/B looks solid when compared to its industry's average P/B of 3.64. Over the past year, EHC's P/B has been as high as 4.51 and as low as 3.22, with a median of 4.03.

Value investors also use the P/S ratio. The P/S ratio is is calculated as price divided by sales. This is a prefered metric because revenue can't really be manipulated, so sales are often a truer performance indicator. EHC has a P/S ratio of 1.44. This compares to its industry's average P/S of 1.59.

Finally, investors will want to recognize that EHC has a P/CF ratio of 11.16. This figure highlights a company's operating cash flow and can be used to find firms that are undervalued when considering their impressive cash outlook. This company's current P/CF looks solid when compared to its industry's average P/CF of 22.64. Within the past 12 months, EHC's P/CF has been as high as 16.86 and as low as 11.16, with a median of 14.85.

Value investors will likely look at more than just these metrics, but the above data helps show that Encompass Health is likely undervalued currently. And when considering the strength of its earnings outlook, EHC sticks out at as one of the market's strongest value stocks.



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