In the wake of the great financial crisis it can sometimes be difficult for Intelligent Investors to find a solid financial company in which to invest, because they require specific achievements over the historical period. Many investors may simply decide to throw out the worst years with the rationale that they are outliers that shouldn’t be considered when evaluating the company’s prospects, but doing so would involve speculation. We don’t know whether the financial crisis will happen again, but we do know that if it does, we can expect to see similar results as we did before. By continuing to require the same standards for the historical period, Intelligent Investors are able to whittle down banks to only those with the best financial position, and then they are able to determine an intrinsic value to get a sense of whether the company is a good investment. In addition, a company must have strong financial statements to prove that it is stable enough for Intelligent Investors. This is best done by utilizing a systematic approach to analysis that will provide investors with a sense of how a specific company compares to another company. By using the ModernGraham method one can review a company’s historical accomplishments and determine an intrinsic value that can be compared across industries. What follows is a specific look at how Comerica Inc. (CMA) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Comerica Incorporated is a financial services company. The Company’s principal activity is lending to and accepting deposits from businesses and individuals. It operates in three business segments: the Business Bank, the Retail Bank and Wealth Management. In addition, it also operates in the Finance segment. The Business Bank segment offers commercial loans and lines of credit, deposits, cash management, capital market products, international trade finance, letters of credit, foreign exchange management services and loan syndication services. The Retail Bank segment offers deposit accounts, installment loans, credit cards, student loans, home equity lines of credit and residential mortgage loans. The Wealth Management segment offers fiduciary services, private banking, retirement services, investment management and advisory services, investment banking and brokerage services. The Finance segment includes its securities portfolio, and asset and liability management activities.
Defensive Investor – must pass all 6 of the following tests: Score = 4/6
- Adequate Size of Enterprise – market capitalization of at least $2 billion – PASS
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years – FAIL
- Dividend Record – has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years – PASS
- Earnings Growth – earnings per share has increased by at least 1/3 over the last 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end of period – FAIL
- Moderate PEmg ratio – PEmg is less than 20 – PASS
- Moderate Price to Assets – PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 – PASS
Enterprising Investor – must pass all 3 of the following tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 3/3
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 5 years – PASS
- Dividend Record – currently pays a dividend – PASS
- Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago – PASS
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$40.81|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$23.92|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||4.25%|
Balance Sheet – March 2015
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
Comerica Inc. qualifies for the Enterprising Investor but not the Defensive Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned by the insufficient earnings growth or stability over the last ten years, while the company passes all of the Enterprising Investor’s requirements. As a result, Enterprising Investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should feel comfortable proceeding with further research into the company and comparing it to other opportunities. As for a valuation, the company appears undervalued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $1.24 in 2011 to an estimated $2.81 for 2015. This level of demonstrated growth is greater than the market’s implied estimate of 4.25% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, which is based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value above the market price.
The next part of the analysis is up to individual investors, and requires discussion of the company’s prospects. What do you think? What value would you put on Comerica Inc. (CMA)? Where do you see the company going in the future? Is there a company you like better? Leave a comment on our Facebook page or mention @ModernGraham on Twitter to discuss.
Disclaimer: The author did not hold a position in any of the companies listed in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours. Logo taken from the Wikipedia; this article is not affiliated with the company in any manner.