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Is Spirit Airlines (SAVE) a Great Stock for Value Investors?

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 Spirit Airlines, Inc. SAVE 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, Spirit Airlines has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 10.45, 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 19.85. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Spirit Airlines’ current PE level puts below its midpoint of 15.62 over the past five years. Moreover, the current level stands way below the highs for the stock, indicating that it could be a solid entry point.
 


Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Transportation sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 15.89. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.
 


We should also point out that Spirit Airlines’ forward PE is roughly same as its trailing twelve months value, so we might say that the forward earnings estimates are incorporated in the company’s share price as of now. We define forward PE as current price relative to the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current fiscal year.

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, Spirit Airlines has a P/S ratio of about 1.07. This is much lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.13 right now. Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is well below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.



Broad Value Outlook

In aggregate, Spirit Airlines 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 Spirit Airlines a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.

For example, the PEG ratio for Spirit Airlines is just 1.28, a level that is slightly lower than the industry average of 1.41. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate. Clearly, SAVE is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.

What About the Stock Overall?

While Spirit Airlines 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 ‘C and a Momentum score of ‘D’. This gives SAVE a Zacks VGM score—or its overarching fundamental grade—of ‘B’. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)

Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been disappointing. The current quarter and full year estimates have seen six and seven downward revisions, respectively with no upward revisions in the past thirty days.

This has had a negative impact on the consensus estimate, as the current quarter consensus estimate has tumbled nearly 19% in the past one month, while the full year estimate has dropped by 9.6%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Spirit Airlines, Inc. Price and Consensus
 

Spirit Airlines, Inc. Price and Consensus | Spirit Airlines, Inc. Quote

Given these bearish trends, the stock has just a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which indicates why we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

Spirit Airlines is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. Despite having a Zacks Rank #3, the stock belongs to an industry which is ranked among the Top 13%, which indicates that broader factors are favorable for the company. Further, over the past one years, the industry has outperformed the broader market, as you can see below:



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

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