Should Value Investors Choose China Mobile (CHL) Stock Now?

Zacks Equity Research

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 China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd. CHL 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, China Mobile (Hong Kong) has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 10.8, as you can see in the chart below:


 
This level actually compares favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 15.54. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, China Mobile’s (Hong Kong) current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years. Moreover, the current level is fairly below the highs for this stock, suggesting it might be a good entry point.


 
Moreover, the stock’s PE also compares unfavorably with the Zacks Computer and Technology sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 22.23. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively overvalued right now, compared to its peers.


 
We should also point out that China Mobile (Hong Kong) has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 10.54, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for China Mobile’s (Hong Kong) 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, China Mobile (Hong Kong) has a P/S ratio of about 1.52. This is significantly lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 2.88 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.


 
If anything, CHL is in the lower end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, suggesting some level of undervalued trading—at least compared to historical norms.

Broad Value Outlook

In aggregate, China Mobile (Hong Kong) 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 China Mobile (Hong Kong) a solid choice for value investors.

What About the Stock Overall?

Though China Mobile (Hong Kong) 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 B and a Momentum score of F. This gives CHL 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 mixed at the best. As a result, the current year consensus estimate has declined by 5.4% in the past two months, while the full year 2021 estimate fell 8% in the past two months. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd. Price and Consensus

China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd. Price and Consensus

China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd. price-consensus-chart | China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd. Quote

Owing to the bearish estimate trend, the stock has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which is why we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

China Mobile (Hong Kong) is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible lineup of statistics on this front. However, with a Zacks Rank #3, it is hard to get too excited about this company overall.

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

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