We recommend buying Walgreen (WAG) ahead of its Q3 12 earnings release on September 28 for a short-term speculative trade. Our bullish call is based on a combined assessment of what we believe to be useful predictive factors for earnings surprises and post-earnings stock price movements. These factors span key variables across valuation, analyst estimate trends and technical strength.
We believe Walgreen to be undervalued both on an absolute and relative basis. On an absolute basis, Walgreen's 2013 P/E based on consensus analyst estimates currently stands at 11.5x, which we believe to be below fair value, given its projected 2013 EPS growth of 20%, and expanding gross and EBIT margins over the past 3 years. On a relative basis when compared to its publicly traded comparables, Walgreen is valued at a discount to Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and CVS (NYSE:CVS), on both 2013 P/E and EV/Revenue, despite much faster expected EPS growth in 2013.
A summary comparables analysis is presented below to highlight key valuation multiples, growth, and profitability metrics between Walgreen and its comparables:
Source: Company filings, Yahoo Finance
Analyst Estimate Trends (neutral)
Current Analyst Estimates
Revenue estimates for Walgreen's current quarter range from $17.61bn to $16.67bn, with an average estimate of $17.14bn (-4.6% from $17.97bn in Q3 11), while EPS estimates range from $0.51 to $0.62, with an average estimate of $0.56 in EPS (-2% vs. $0.57 in Q3 11).
Walgreen has met or slightly exceeded EPS estimates in three of the past four quarters. Recent analyst EPS estimate revisions are neutral, with Q3 12 EPS being revised down from $0.58 (90 days ago) to $0.56 (current).
EPS Surprise History (neutral)
EPS Estimate Revisions (neutral)
7 Days Ago
30 Days Ago
60 Days Ago
90 Days Ago
Source: Yahoo Finance
Technical Strength (bullish)
We believe Walgreen's underlying technical strength, as measured by its historical share price performance, to be bullish, with its Moving Averages and MACD technical indicators all under bullish signals.
· 20-Day Moving Average: Bullish
· 50-Day Moving Average: Bullish
· 100-Day Moving Average: Bullish
· 20-50 Day MACD Oscillator: Bullish
· 20-100 Day MACD Oscillator: Bullish
· 50-100 Day MACD Oscillator: Bullish
Earnings Speculator is a trading advisory service designed to capture alpha by predicting post-earnings moves of stocks through a detailed analysis of key predictive factors. While our goal is to generate consistent alpha over time through employing a long-term positive probability edge in our predictions, the ultimate performance of any one of our individual stock recommendations is highly uncertain. We strongly recommend allocating no more than 2% of your trading portfolio to each of our recommendations in order to sufficiently diversify your risk and to be well positioned for long-term alpha generation through focusing on the prediction of post-earnings share price movements.
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.