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Sonoco (SON) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

Shares of Sonoco Products (SON) have been strong performers lately, with the stock up 1.8% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $65.99 in the previous session. Sonoco Products has gained 10.4% since the start of the year compared to the 15.8% move for the Zacks Industrial Products sector and the 7.4% return for the Zacks Containers - Paper and Packaging industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on April 22, 2021, Sonoco reported EPS of $0.9 versus consensus estimate of $0.85 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 5.37%.

For the current fiscal year, Sonoco is expected to post earnings of $3.54 per share on $5.31 billion in revenues. This represents a 4.11% change in EPS on a 1.39% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $3.8 per share on $5.39 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 7.89% and 1.52%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Sonoco may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Sonoco has a Value Score of B. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and D, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of B.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 18.5X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 10.9X versus its peer group's average of 11X. Additionally, the stock has a PEG ratio of 3.7. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to consider the stock's Zacks Rank, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Sonoco currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to favorable earnings estimate revisions from covering analysts.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Sonoco passes the test. Thus, it seems as though Sonoco shares could have potential in the weeks and months to come.


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