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This article analyzes Buckle (NYSE:BKE) through the lens of FAST Graphs. Buckle announced at its quarterly meeting of the board of directors, held on Sept. 17, 2012, that it authorized a $0.20 per share quarterly dividend to be paid to shareholders of record at the close of business on Oct. 15, 2012, with a payment date of Oct. 26, 2012.

Buckle has a legacy of paying special dividends. It paid $1.07 in January 2007, $2.00 in October 2008, $1.80 in 2009, $2.50 in December 2010, and $2.25 in October 2011. Value Line expects that Buckle will take advantage of the current 15% tax rate, and therefore it considers it probable that Buckle will pay an additional $2.00 special dividend in 2012. The current annual dividend of $.80 per share is offering a current yield of approximately 1.7%.

Consequently, we believe that Buckle may appeal to yield-seeking investors because of the potential for another special dividend. However, there is no guarantee that this will occur. Based on the regular dividend, there is still the potential to see increasing income over time, but the 1.7% yield may not satisfy all investors seeking dividend income.

About Buckle, taken directly from its website:

Offering a unique mix of high-quality, on-trend apparel, accessories, and footwear, Buckle caters to fashion-conscious young men and women. Known as a denim destination, each store carries a wide selection of fits, styles, and finishes from leading denim brands, including the company's exclusive brand, BKE. Headquartered in Kearney, Nebraska, Buckle currently operates 439 retail stores in 43 states compared to 428 stores in 42 states as of Aug. 30, 2011.

Earnings Determine Market Price

The following earnings and price correlated FAST 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 Buckle shows a picture of a company that is in value based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 13.9% and a current P/E of 14.4. Analysts are forecasting the earnings growth to continue at about 10%, and when you look at the forecasting graph below, the stock appears in value (it's inside of the value corridor of the five orange lines -- based on future growth).

Buckle: Historical Earnings, Price, Dividends and Normal P/E Since 1998

Click to enlarge images.

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 11.1% capital appreciation (green circle), long-term shareholders of Buckle, assuming an initial investment of $1,000, would have received an additional $1,433.31 in dividends (blue highlighting) that increased their total return from 11.1% to 13.1% per annum vs. 3.8% (red circle) in the S&P 500. Note that in the performance table where you see big dividend cuts that those are the result of special dividends that were paid, not because the company actually cut its dividends.

The following graph plots the historical P/E ratio (the dark blue line) in conjunction with 10-year Treasury note interest. Notice that the current P/E ratio on this quality company is as normal as it has been since 1998.

A further indication of valuation can be seen by examining a company's current price-to-sales ratio relative to its historical price-to-sales ratio. The current price-to-sales ratio for Buckle is 2.09, which is historically normal.

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 10 leading analysts reporting to Capital IQ forecast Buckle's long-term earnings growth at 10% (orange circle). Buckle has no debt (red circle). The company is currently trading at a P/E of 14.4, which is inside the value corridor (defined by the five orange lines) of a maximum P/E of 18 (orange arrows). If the earnings materialize as forecast, Buckle's True Worth™ valuation would be $76.10 at the end of 2017 (brown circle on EYE chart), which would be a 10.7% annual rate of return from the current price (yellow highlighting).

Earnings Yield Estimates

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 Buckle to an equal investment in 10-year Treasury bonds illustrates that Buckle's expected earnings would be 5.9 (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 you conduct your 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. 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.

Source: Buckle: Stock Research Analysis