By the numbers should you buy valero energy – valero energy corporation (nyse vlo) seeking alpha 3 gases in the air

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Companies in the refining sector are doing remarkably well lately, and Valero Energy ( VLO) is one of the top players in the space. The stock has gained over 88% in the past year, but valuation is still reasonable in comparison to the market in general and the sector in particular.

Statistical research has proven that quantitative factors such as quality, value, momentum, and relative strength are powerful return drivers for stocks over the long term. Valero stock looks like a strong alternative for investors when considering these variables. A High Quality Business

Valero Energy is the largest independent refiner in the United States. The company owns 15 refineries with a total capacity of 3.1 million barrels a day across the U.S., Canada, and the UK. The company also owns 11 ethanol plants with a combined capacity of 1.45 billion gallons of ethanol a year. In addition, Valero Energy owns a 68% interest in MLP Valero Energy Partners ( VLP).

The company differentiates itself from other industry players thanks to its complex refinery structure allowing the company to use cheaper oil and to process lower-quality feedstock into a high-value product. This is being reflected in superior financial performance for Valero over time.

Valero’s policy is to distribute 40% to 50% of operating cash flows to investors through dividends and buybacks, and shareholders have been compensated with succulent cash payments over the years. From 2011 to the first quarter of 2018, the dividend has increased from $0.3 to $3.2 and the company has reduced the amount of shares outstanding by over 24%.

Valero delivered better than expected financial performance for the first quarter of 2018. Revenue amounted to $26.4 billion during the period, increasing by 21.3% year over year. Adjusted net income was $1.00 per share, an increase of 47%. In addition, the company returned $665 million in cash to stockholders through dividends and stock buybacks in the quarter. Reasonable Valuation

Valero stock trades at very reasonable valuation ratios, and we could even say that the stock is undervalued in comparison to industry peers. The table below shows key valuation ratios for Valero versus other big industry players such as Phillips 66 ( PSX), Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), and Andeavor ( ANDV).

Considering ratios such as price to earnings, forward price to earnings, price to earnings growth, price to sales, price to book value, and dividend yield, Valero is priced near the low end of the spectrum in most of these indicators. Ticker

Since Valero is a top industry player in terms of the quality of its business and long-term financial performance, current valuation ratios look fairly attractive in comparison to other alternatives in the sector. On The Right Side Of Momentum

Valero has reported better than expected earnings numbers over the past 4 consecutive quarters in a row. The bars show the expected earnings number, the actual reported number, and the difference between the two both in absolute and percentage terms.

The system has produced solid backtested performance over the long term. The chart below shows how the 50 stocks with the highest PowerFactors ranking in the S&P 500 index performed in comparison to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF since 1999. The backtesting assumes an equal-weighted portfolio, monthly rebalanced, and with an annual expense ratio of 1% to account for trading expenses.

The system more than doubled the benchmark, with annual returns of 12.89% per year versus an annual return of 6.1% for the ETF in the same period. In cumulative terms, the system gained 948.66% versus 215.05% for the benchmark. Past performance does not guarantee future returns, but it makes sense to expect solid returns when investing in companies with strong quantitative attributes.

Valero is one of the 50 stocks currently picked by the system, which means the company is among the best 10% of those in the S&P 500 based on a combination of quantitative indicators that measure financial quality, valuation, business momentum, and relative strength. The numbers are indicating more upside potential in Valero stock on a forward-looking basis.

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