What You Need to Know About LU

One of Wall Street's biggest winners of the day is Lufax, a credit services company whose shares have climbed 6.7% to a price of $1.75 -- 69.19% below its average analyst target price of $5.68.

The average analyst rating for the stock is buy. LU may have outstripped the S&P 500 index by 6.1% so far today, but it has lagged behind the index by 58.7% over the last year, returning -71.1%.

Lufax Holding Ltd operates a technology-empowered personal financial services platform in China. The company is part of the financial services sector, alongside a staggering variety of banking, mortgage, insurance,and credit service companies. If there is one common denominator among all companies in the sector, it’s that they are all dedicated to maintaining and developing new systems for the storage and transfer of value and risk.

Lufax's trailing 12 month P/E ratio is 2.0, based on its trailing Eps of $0.88. The company has a forward P/E ratio of 2.0 according to its forward Eps of $0.89 -- which is an estimate of what its earnings will look like in the next quarter.

The P/E ratio is the company's share price divided by its earnings per share. In other words, it represents how much investors are willing to spend for each dollar of the company's earnings (revenues minus the cost of goods sold, taxes, and overhead). As of the third quarter of 2022, the financial services sector has an average P/E ratio of 13.34, and the average for the S&P 500 is 15.97.

LU’s price to earnings ratio can be divided by its projected five-year growth rate, to give us the price to earnings, or PEG ratio. This allows us to put its earnings valuation in the context of its growth expectations which is useful because companies with low P/E ratios often have low growth, which means they actually do not present an attractive value.

When we perform the calculation for Lufax, we obtain a PEG ratio of 23.3, which indicates that the company is overvalued compared to its growth prospects. The weakness with PEG ratios is that they rely on expected growth estimates, which of course may not turn out as expected.

To better understand the strength of Lufax's business, we can analyse its operating margins, which are its revenues minus its operating costs. Consistently strong margins backed by a positive trend can signal that a company is on track to deliver returns for its shareholders. Here's the operating margin statistics for the last four years:

Date Reported Total Revenue ($) Operating Expenses ($) Operating Margins (%) YoY Growth (%)
2021-12-31 61,834,907,000.0 36,837,711,000.0 40.43 -10.93
2020-12-31 56,119,757,000.0 30,644,388,000.0 45.39 -3.49
2019-12-31 48,721,340,000.0 25,809,432,000.0 47.03 -15.58
2018-12-31 44,786,816,000.0 19,837,507,000.0 55.71 n/a
  • Average operating margins: 47.1 %
  • Average operating margins growth rate: -10.0 %
  • Coefficient of variability (lower numbers indicate less volatility): 13.5 %

Lufax's financial viability can also be assessed through a review of its free cash flow trends. Free cash flow refers to the company's operating cash flows minus its capital expenditures, which are expenses related to the maintenance of fixed assets such as land, infrastructure, and equipment. Over the last four years, the trends have been as follows:

Date Reported Cash Flow from Operations ($) Capital expenditures ($) Free Cash Flow ($) YoY Growth (%)
2021-12-31 4,987,472,000.0 0.0 4,987,472,000.0 -27.87
2020-12-31 7,121,282,000.0 -206,496,000.0 6,914,786,000.0 243.99
2019-12-31 2,191,894,000.0 -181,746,000.0 2,010,148,000.0 216.72
2018-12-31 -1,452,367,000.0 -269,894,000.0 -1,722,261,000.0 n/a
  • Average free cash flow: $3,047,536,250.00
  • Average free cash flown growth rate: 144.3 %
  • Coefficient of variability (lower numbers indicating more stability): 123.6 %

Free cash flow represents the amount of money that is available for reinvesting in the business, or for paying out to investors in the form of a dividend. With a positive cash flow as of the last fiscal year, LU is in a position to do either -- which can encourage more investors to place their capital in the company.

Value investors often analyze stocks through the lens of its Price to Book (P/B) Ratio (market value divided by book value). The book value refers to the present value of the company if the company were to sell off all of its assets and pay all of its debts today - a number whose value may differ significantly depending on the accounting method.

Lufax's P/B ratio of 0.0 indicates that the market value of the company is less than the value of its assets -- a potential indicator of an undervalued stock. The average P/B ratio of the Financial Services sector was 1.95 as of the third quarter of 2022.

Lufax is by most measures undervalued because it has a very low P/E ratio, no published P/B ratio, and an irregular stream of positive cash flows with an upwards trend. The stock has poor growth indicators because it has a an inflated PEG ratio and strong and consistent operating margins.

The above analysis is intended for educational purposes only and was performed on the basis of publicly available data. It is not to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Any buy, sell, or other recommendations mentioned in the article are direct quotations of consensus recommendations from the analysts covering the stock, and do not represent the opinions of Market Inference or its writers. Past performance, accounting data, and inferences about market position and corporate valuation are not reliable indicators of future price movements. Market Inference does not provide financial advice. Investors should conduct their own review and analysis of any company of interest before making an investment decision.