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Should Value Investors Pick Hanmi Financial (HAFC) Stock?

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 Hanmi Financial Corporation HAFC 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, Hanmi Financial has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 11.16, 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 17.78. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Hanmi Financial’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.

 

Further, the stock’s PE also compares favorably with the Zacks Finance sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 14.04. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers.

 

We should also point out that Hanmi Financial 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 Hanmi Financial 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, Hanmi Financial has a P/S ratio of about 2.47. This is lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 3.19 right now.  Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years. 

 

If anything, HAFC is near 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, Hanmi Financial currently has a Value Score of B, putting it into the top 40% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Hanmi Financial a solid choice for value investors, and some of its other key metrics make this pretty clear too.  

For example, the PEG ratio for Hanmi Financial is just 1.32, a level that is bit lower than the industry average of 1.50. The PEG ratio is a modified PE ratio that takes into account the stock’s earnings growth rate. Additionally, the P/CF ratio for Hanmi Financial came in at 9.78, which is a far lower than the industry average of 10.06. Clearly, HAFC is a solid choice on the value front from multiple angles.    

What About the Stock Overall?

Though Hanmi Financial 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 Score of C and a Momentum Score of B. This gives HAFC 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 has seen three estimates go lower in the past sixty days compared to one higher, while the current year estimate has seen two downward revision compared to one upward in the same time period.

This has had a negative impact on the consensus estimate though as the current quarter consensus estimate has decreased by 1.9% in the past two months, while the current year estimate has declined by 1.9%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:

Hanmi Financial Corporation Price and Consensus

 

Hanmi Financial Corporation Price and Consensus

Hanmi Financial Corporation price-consensus-chart | Hanmi Financial Corporation Quote

Despite the bearish analyst sentiments, the stock holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Thus, we are looking for in-line performance from the company in the near term.

Bottom Line

Hancock Whitney is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible line up of statistics on this front.

However, with a sluggish industry rank (among bottom 15% of more than 250 industries) and a Zacks Rank #3, it is hard to get too excited about this company overall. In fact, over the past two years, the Zacks Banks – West industry has clearly underperformed the market at large, as you can see below:

 

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

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