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Should You Invest In Lowe’s After Its Record Breaking 2020?

Over the last couple months, I’ve shown you stocks to avoid…

Stocks to consider buying…

And some of the best stocks related to the coming Internet of Things…  Which you can find linked further below.

All these recommendations are to help you either avoid pain and terrible stocks.  Or to help you find potentially great stocks to invest in during this pandemic.

If you do both well, it helps you earn higher than average investment returns and build wealth.

Because the fewer investment losses you have the more capital you keep. And the more capital you keep the faster you compound your money.

Today, I want to answer Should You Invest In Lowe’s After Its Record Breaking 2020? 

Lowe’s (LOW) is the world’s second largest home improvement specialty store.

It’s based in Mooresville North Carolina.  It has a $119.61 billion market cap. And it pays a 1.47% dividend… Which is reason #1 to consider buying its stock.

Lowe’s 1.47% Dividend

Over the last decade Lowe’s paid out a total of $11.10 per share in dividends.

At today’s share count of 756 million shares that’s equal to $8.39 billion paid out to shareholders in that time.

It also grew its dividend 436% from $0.42 per share in 2011 to $2.25 per share now.

These dividend payments will help you in normal times earn cash if you take the money out.  Or allow you to buy more shares over time if you reinvest the dividends.

These regular payments will help you earn more money for your retirement.  And the solid, stable, and growing dividends will help in any kind of prolonged economic issues like we’re dealing with today.

It can do this because it earns solid profits.  Which is reason #2 to buy Lowe’s for your retirement portfolio.

Lowe’s Earns Large Profits

Over the last decade it earned an average operating income margin of 7.9% per year.

I look for anything above 10%. This falls slightly below what I require… But what about the next metric?

Another way to show this is with its free cash flow to sales ratio (FCF/Sales). Over the last decade its 5.8% per year on average.

I call this the “Cash Machine” metric.

I look for anything above 5% on a consistent basis for the same reasons as I look for high operating profit margins above.  If a company surpasses both thresholds it makes it a great operating business that is safe and ultra-valuable.

Lowe’s surpasses one of the important metrics I require but not the other.

And since Covid its numbers have skyrocketed…

Revenue, profits, and cash flows all reached records in the last 12 months while people were stuck at home.

And this has boosted its profits and cash flows even higher in the last year.

However, operating profit still don’t surpass what I require over the last decade though which is a concern… But its not a deal breaker so lets keep going.

Lowe’s Has A Large Amount Of Debt

As of this writing Lowe’s has $10.1 billion in cash compared to $26.23 billion in debt.

As a percentage of its balance sheet total liabilities make up 92%.

And its debt-to-equity ratio is 6.16.

These are all above my normal thresholds for what I look for in an investment. And the debt-to-equity ratio is far above the 1 and below I look for.

Because of Lowe’s consistently good profits and cash flows it can sustain more debt without it becoming an issue.

But it does give me some pause.

Especially with its operating profits not surpassing what I require… But its still not a deal breaker at this point because of how great Lowe’s is, so let’s keep moving forward.

Lowe’s IS NOT Cheap

With the markets at or near all-time highs you’d expect a fantastic stock like Lowe’s to be selling at an enormous valuation.

It’s not… But it’s still overvalued.

As of this writing its P/E is 21.

Its P/CF is 11.1.

Its forward P/E is 17.7.

And its enterprise value to operating income – EV/EBIT is 16.3.

On all three metrics at the top, I look to buy investments below 20 to consider them undervalued.

And on EV/EBIT I look to buy stocks below 8.

This means, Lowe’s is overvalued by a decent amount now.

And this means owning its stock gives you no margin of safety in investing terminology.

When you invest in stocks that have a margin of safety it makes the investment safer.  And it also means you should expect to earn higher returns owning it in the coming years.

The inverse of this is also true…

When you invest in a stock without a margin of safety it makes the investment riskier.  And it also means you should expect to earn less owning its stock going forward.

With Lowe’s being overvalued it makes the investment riskier. Especially when you consider its large debt load. Even with the other wonderful things above.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a solid, safe, stable, and enormously profitable investment to buy to earn high and safe returns for your portfolio – consider investing in Lowe’s… But only when it’s cheaper and it has lower debt.

To see what I said about potentially investing in its large competitor Home Depot last week click here.

You can also use the following links to some of our recent articles to learn other ways to protect yourself and your investments in these uncertain times.

Disclosure – Jason Rivera is a 13+ year veteran value investor who now spends much of his time helping other investors earn higher than average investment returns safely. He does not have any holdings in any securities mentioned above and the article expresses his own opinions. He has no business relationship with any company mentioned above.

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