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3 Advertising & Marketing Stocks to Watch Amid Industry Woes – August 23, 2023

The rise in service activities, along with increased digital marketing services and the success of the work-from-home trend, is enabling the Zacks Advertising and Marketing industry to counter the prevailing revenue softness.

Customer-centric approaches to business, digital strategies and technology investments are helping Publicis Groupe S.A. (PUBGY Free Report) , Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC Free Report) and The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (IPG Free Report) to sail through the current testing times.

About the Industry

The Zacks Advertising and Marketing industry comprises companies that offer an extensive range of services, including advertising, branding, content marketing, digital/direct marketing, digital transformation, financial/corporate business-to-business advertising, graphic arts/digital imaging, healthcare marketing and communications, and in-store design services. Prominent players from the industry include Interpublic and Omnicom. The pandemic has changed the way industry players have conducted business and delivered services so far. Currently, the industry’s key focus is on channelizing money and efforts toward media formats and devices. To position themselves suitably in the post-pandemic era, service providers are increasing their efforts toward formulating strategic initiatives and identifying sources of demand.

What’s Shaping the Future of the Industry?

Economic Recovery: The sector is a major beneficiary of the broader economy and service activities. According to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.4% in the second quarter of 2023 compared with 2% growth in the first quarter. Fed’s decision to pause interest rate hike in June after ten straight increases offered relief to the global economy. Economic activities in the non-manufacturing sector are in good shape. The Services PMI measured by the Institute for Supply Management has stayed above the 50% mark for the past seven months, indicating continued expansion.

Reviving Demand: The industry is mature, with demand for services remaining stable over time. Revenues, income and cash flows are anticipated to gradually reach the pre-pandemic levels, aiding most industry players to pay out stable dividends.

Digital Marketing Gathering Steam: Amid the pandemic, digital media consumption has shot up, with consumers spending more time on various media platforms and video-streaming services. Thus, agencies offering digital marketing services stand to gain, as these firms are better positioned to address the rapid change in customer preference.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Dull Near-Term Prospects

The Zacks Advertising and Marketing industry, housed within the broader Zacks Business Services sector, currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #216. This rank places it in the bottom 14% of more than 250 Zacks industries.

The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates underperformance in the near term. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than two to one.

Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock market performance and current valuation.

Industry’s Price Performance

Over the past year, the Zacks Advertising and Marketing industry and the S&P 500 composite have risen while the broader sector has witnessed a decline. The industry has risen 1.5% compared with the S&P 500 composite’s growth of 7%. The broader sector has declined 6% in the said time frame.

One-Year Price Performance

Industry’s Current Valuation

On the basis of the forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, which is commonly used for valuing advertising and marketing stocks, the industry is currently trading at 8.44 compared with the S&P 500’s 19.1 and the sector’s 22.27.

Over the past five years, the industry has traded as high as 16.98X and as low as 7.67X, with the median being 11.43X, as the charts below show.

Price to Forward 12-Month P/E Ratio

3 Advertising Stocks to Consider

We have presented three stocks that are well-positioned for near-term growth:

Publicis: The company is a provider of marketing, communications and digital business transformation services. It is witnessing strength across regions, especially in the United States and Europe, driven by strong momentum in account wins.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2023 EPS remained unchanged at $1.92 over the past 30 days. Shares of Publicis have gained 57.1% in the past year. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Price and Consensus: PUBGY

Interpublic: An increasingly diverse workforce gives this global provider of advertising and marketing services a key competitive edge. The company continues to attract, acquire and develop strategic, creative and digital talent from diverse backgrounds to increase organic growth and strengthen its foothold in international markets.

Interpublic continues to invest in technology and internationalize its digital specialist agencies to keep pace with the rapidly evolving media landscape. The company has been enhancing its digital capabilities like search, social, user experience, content creation, analytics and mobile across its portfolio to maintain growth in the dynamic sector. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Interpublic’s 2023 EPS has increased 3% in the past 30 days to $3.05. Shares of the company have gained 12.1% in the past year. Interpublic currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. 

Price and Consensus: IPG

Omnicom: The company is a provider of advertising, marketing and corporate communications services. Consistency and diversity of operations, and focus on delivering consumer-centric strategic business solutions ensure the long-term profitability for Omnicom. It has divested underperforming and non-core businesses and reorganized to meet clients’ ever-transforming needs.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2023 EPS has been revised slightly upward over the past 30 days. Omnicom stock has gained 13.7% over the past year. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Price and Consensus: OMC

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