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Low Price-to-Sales Ratio Stocks

by John Bajkowski

Low Price To Sales Ratio Stocks Splash image

A number of research studies indicate that using price-to-sales ratios may lead to better investment results than price-to-book-value ratios or price-earnings ratios. Price-to-sales ratios (price divided by sales per share) may identify undervalued firms sooner than the price-earnings approach and avoid some of the accounting complications of the price-earnings and price-to-book screens.

Price-to-sales ratios are tied to expectations of future company growth, profitability, and risk. Industry knowledge is crucial. A simple screen for low price-to-sales ratios will tend to turn up firms in industries with low profit margins (income divided by sales) or poor sales growth prospects. The higher the expected growth, the higher the price-to-sales ratio that a stock can support. Higher profit margins should also translate into higher price-to-sales ratios. This issue’s First Cut looks for firms trading with price-to-sales ratios below the median for their industry, but with sales growth, profit margins, and price strength above the industry norm.

The stocks passing the First Cut are domestic exchange-listed companies with positive one- and three-year sales growth rates that are higher than their industry medians coupled with operating and net profit margins above their industry medians. Operating profit margin (operating income divided by sales) examines the relationship between sales and management-controllable costs. Net profit margin (net income divided by sales) is the “bottom line” margin frequently quoted for companies. It indicates how well management has been able to turn revenues into earnings and may highlight a competitive advantage. The First Cut stocks have liabilities-to-assets ratios lower than their industry medians to establish a maximum level of financial leverage. Companies in more stable industries can safely assume greater levels of debt. The 30 firms with the highest relative price strength over the last 26 weeks and that have reported earnings exceeding the market consensus made the cut.

 
 
 
 
Company (Exchange: Ticker)
 
 
Price-to-
Sales Ratio
 
Net Profit
Margin
Sales
Growth Rate
(3 Yr)
 
 
Liabilities 
to Assets
26-Wk
Rel
Strgth
Rank
(%)
 
Share
Price
(8/13)
($)
 
 
 
Firm
(X)
Indus
(X)
Firm
(%)
Indus
(%)
Firm
(%)
Indus
(%)
Firm
(%)
Indus
(%)
 
Industry
Coinstar, Inc. (M: CSTR) 1.10 1.2 5.0 -5.0 28.9 0.1 63.4 88.6 95 44.62 Recreational Activities
MetroPCS Communications (N: PCS) 0.81 1.2 5.5 -0.1 31.0 6.7 67.7 74.5 92 8.76 Communications Services
AMERIGROUP Corp. (N: AGP) 0.35 0.6 3.1 1.4 22.4 11.2 48.8 61.9 92 38.10 Healthcare Facilities
Medifast, Inc. (N: MED) 2.02 3.4 7.4 -22.0 30.7 14.5 25.5 49.7 92 27.91 Biotechnology & Drugs
Boston Beer Company (N: SAM) 2.04 2.1 9.2 7.2 13.3 9.1 35.1 53.6 91 64.94 Beverages (Alcoholic)
ViroPharma Incorporated (M: VPHM) 2.80 3.4 22.3 -22.0 22.9 14.5 31.6 49.7 88 13.22 Biotechnology & Drugs
LeMaitre Vascular, Inc. (M: LMAT) 1.71 1.8 9.3 -6.9 13.7 10.1 15.3 47.0 86 6.00 Medical Equip & Supplies
BJ's Wholesale Club (N: BJ) 0.21 0.3 1.3 0.8 6.2 2.2 51.2 66.9 84 42.90 Retail (Spec'lty Non-Apparel)
IntegraMed America, Inc. (M: INMD) 0.45 0.6 2.2 1.4 19.7 11.2 45.3 61.9 83 8.76 Healthcare Facilities
Cornerstone Therapeutics (M: CRTX) 1.38 3.4 7.7 -22.0 103.0 14.5 20.4 49.7 83 6.26 Biotechnology & Drugs
BMP Sunstone Corp. (M: BJGP) 1.60 3.4 2.1 -22.0 82.2 14.5 37.8 49.7 81 5.89 Biotechnology & Drugs
Centene Corporation (N: CNC) 0.24 0.6 2.1 1.4 31.1 11.2 56.0 61.9 78 21.03 Healthcare Facilities
Bill Barrett Corporation (N: BBG) 2.46 2.8 11.4 -0.5 16.8 4.7 44.0 55.3 78 36.54 Oil & Gas Operations
Republic Services, Inc. (N: RSG) 1.39 1.4 4.7 -4.1 38.7 7.3 60.7 66.7 76 29.40 Waste Management Servs
MWI Veterinary Supply (M: MWIV) 0.53 3.4 2.8 -22.0 15.8 14.5 44.8 49.7 76 47.99 Biotechnology & Drugs
Magellan Health Services (M: MGLN) 0.51 0.6 4.7 1.4 16.1 11.2 32.5 61.9 74 43.88 Healthcare Facilities
Ducommun Incorporated (N: DCO) 0.46 0.8 3.1 3.0 10.5 10.1 29.6 57.1 73 18.70 Aerospace and Defense
Ashland Inc. (N: ASH) 0.46 0.6 3.0 -1.4 3.8 -1.0 60.1 60.6 73 49.09 Fabricated Plastic & Rubber
Par Pharmaceutical (N: PRX) 0.82 3.4 7.2 -22.0 18.1 14.5 29.4 49.7 69 27.06 Biotechnology & Drugs
Murphy Oil Corporation (N: MUR) 0.48 2.8 4.3 -0.5 9.9 4.7 43.4 55.3 67 54.82 Oil & Gas Operations
TriQuint Semiconductor (M: TQNT) 1.42 1.5 8.5 2.8 17.6 -3.0 16.6 35.1 65 6.90 Semiconductors
Clean Harbors, Inc. (N: CLH) 1.07 1.4 6.2 -4.1 9.0 7.3 56.0 66.7 65 60.43 Waste Management Servs
Parke Bancorp, Inc. (M: PKBK) 0.98 1.3 15.2 1.3 16.6 0.6 90.3 90.9 65 9.00 Regional Banks
Cubist Pharmaceuticals (M: CBST) 2.06 3.4 15.5 -22.0 42.4 14.5 46.8 49.7 64 21.85 Biotechnology & Drugs
Genesis Energy, L.P. (A: GEL) 0.46 2.8 1.3 -0.5 16.1 4.7 50.5 55.3 64 20.48 Oil & Gas Operations
Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (N: CNK) 0.83 0.9 6.5 -18.8 17.4 5.0 71.3 96.2 62 15.51 Motion Pictures
Virtusa Corporation (M: VRTU) 1.16 1.8 7.1 0.0 9.7 8.0 15.7 51.3 60 8.80 Software & Programming
HealthSpring, Inc (N: HS) 0.37 0.4 6.0 3.0 26.8 9.7 34.7 62.7 60 18.45 Insurance (Accid & Health)
Corn Products Int'l (N: CPO) 0.63 0.8 4.9 3.5 11.9 8.0 43.9 50.9 58 32.35 Food Processing
Watsco, Incorporated (N: WSO) 0.60 0.9 2.3 1.2 4.2 1.0 47.0 57.0 57 53.00 Misc. Capital Goods
  Field: Operator: Factor: Compare to:
  Exchange Not Equal   Over the counter
And ADR/ADS Stock Is False    
And Country Contains   United States
And Industry Not Equal   Real Estate Operations
And Industry Not Equal   Misc. Financial Services
And Price >   5
And Price/Sales <   Industry Price/Sales
And Sales-Growth 12m >   0
And Sales-Growth 12m >   Industry Sales-Growth 12m
And Sales-Growth 3yr >   0
And Sales-Growth 3yr >   Industry Sales-Growth 3yr
And Operating margin 12m >   Industry Operating margin 12m
And Net margin 12m >   Industry Net margin 12m
And Total liabilities/assets Q1 <   Industry Total liabilities/assets Q1
And Relative Strength 26 week >   Industry Relative Strength 26 week
And Relative Strength 26 week >   0
And Quarterly Surprise-Difference >   0
John Bajkowski is president of AAII.


Discussion

John from FL posted over 4 years ago:

For a 1st cut or any new screen, do you backtest it? And if so, would you share the results of some of your backtesting?


F paul from CA posted over 4 years ago:

Another good screen from AAII. I have combined this with price/book, etc., for excellent returns


F paul from CA posted over 4 years ago:

PS: my 10 dig no did not work used one I must have established with AAII. Keep up the good work re screens and screen research.

PPS: I hve used a linear combo of screen scores with good results - similar to Pet.'s point system.

I liked Cara S's mods to the Pet. screen. PLease have her do that regularly if possible?


Girishbhai from FL posted over 4 years ago:

Price/Sales ratio is a very good measure to evaluate growth stocks. Faber's report provide good critical remarks after experience with falsely reporting high sale figures of Sunbeam corporation when they counted sales twice, once when the product went in warehouse and again when it was sold. Usually profit does not increase in proportion with sales. One has to ask the question: Whether profit inncreses with increase in sales.


John Bajkowski from IL posted over 4 years ago:

We do not normally backtest the firstcut screens. However, an number of the screens have become part of the regular group of screens that are built into Stock Investor Pro and AAII.com


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