Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) initiated its first dividend in calendar year 2008, as depicted by the light blue shaded area on the historical graph below, and has increased every year since. With Comcast's stock appearing undervalued, this may be a good time for investors to evaluate this stock as one to possibly add to their portfolio.
About Comcast, taken directly from its website:
Comcast is one of the world's leading media, entertainment and communications companies. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.
Earnings Determine Market Price
The following earnings and price correlated F.A.S.T. Graphs™ clearly illustrates the importance of earnings. The Earnings Growth Rate Line or True Worth™ Line (orange line with white triangles) is correlated with the historical stock price line. On graph after graph, the lines will move in tandem. If the stock price strays away from the earnings line (over or under), inevitably it will come back to earnings.
Earnings and Price Correlated Fundamentals at a Glance
A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graphs™ on Comcast shows a picture of moderate undervaluation based on the historical earnings growth rate of 26.1% and a current P/E of 21.4. Analysts are forecasting the earnings growth to continue at about 14.7%; therefore, based on the forecasting graph below, the stock appears slightly overvalued based on a lower-than-expected historical future earnings growth rate.
Comcast: Historical Earnings, Price, Dividends and Normal P/E Since 2005
Click to enlarge images.
Performance Table for Comcast
The associated performance results with the earnings and price correlated graph validates the principles regarding the two components of total return: capital appreciation and dividend income. Dividends are included in the total return calculation and are assumed paid, but not reinvested.
When presented separately like this, the additional rate of return a dividend paying stock produces for shareholders becomes undeniably evident. In addition to the 5.7% capital appreciation (green circle), long-term shareholders of Comcast, assuming an initial investment of $1,000, would have received an additional $61.88 in dividends (blue highlighting) that increased their total return from 5.7% to 6.3% per annum vs. 5.6% in the S&P 500 (red circle).
The following graph plots the historically normal P/E ratio (the dark blue line) in conjunction with 10-year Treasury note interest. Notice that the current price/earnings ratio on this quality company is as low as it has been since 2005.
A further indication of valuation can be seen by examining a company's current price/sales ratio relative to its historical price/sales ratio. The current price/sales ratio for Comcast is 1.53, which is historically low.
Looking to the Future
Extensive research has provided a preponderance of conclusive evidence that future long-term returns are a function of two critical determinants:
1. The rate of change (growth rate) of the company's earnings
2. The price or valuation you pay to buy those earnings
Forecasting future earnings growth, bought at sound valuations, is the key to safe, sound, and profitable performance.
The Estimated Earnings and Return Calculator Tool is a simple yet powerful resource that empowers the user to calculate and run various investing scenarios that generate precise rate of return potentialities. Thinking the investment through to its logical conclusion is an important component toward making sound and prudent commonsense investing decisions.
The consensus of 29 leading analysts (purple highlighting) reporting to Capital IQ forecast Comcast's long-term earnings growth at 16.2% (orange circle). Comcast has medium long-term debt at 37% of capital (red circle). The comapny is currently trading at a P/E of 21.4, which is inside the value corridor (defined by the five orange lines) of a maximum P/E of 19.4. If the earnings materialize as forecast, Comcast's True Worth™ valuation would be $65.27 at the end of 2017 (brown circle on EYE Chart), which would be a 14.7% annual rate of return from the current price (yellow highlighting).
Earnings Yield Estimates
Discounted Future Cash Flows: All companies derive their value from the future cash flows (earnings) they are capable of generating for their stakeholders over time. Therefore, because earnings determine market price in the long run, we expect the future earnings of a company to justify the price we pay.
Since all investments potentially compete with all other investments, it is useful to compare investing in any prospective company to that of a comparable investment in low risk Treasury bonds. Comparing an investment in Comcast to an equal investment in 10-year Treasury bonds, illustrates that Comcast's expected earnings would be 6.6 (purple circle) times that of the 10-year T-Bond Interest. (See EYE chart below.) This is the essence of the importance of proper valuation as a critical investing component.
Summary and Conclusions
This report presented essential "fundamentals at a glance" illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although, with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, it's imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this document are for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell the stocks mentioned or to solicit transactions or clients. Past performance of the companies discussed may not continue and the companies may not achieve the earnings growth as predicted. The information in this document is believed to be accurate, but under no circumstances should a person act upon the information contained within. We do not recommend that anyone act upon any investment information without first consulting an investment advisor as to the suitability of such investments for his specific situation. A comprehensive due diligence effort is recommended.