Time to pounce? 1 phenomenal ASX stock that hasn't been this cheap in a while

Now might be the time to look at the Telco giant.

| More on:
A woman peers through a bunch of recycled clothes on hangers and looks amazed.

Image source: Getty Images

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

There are many cheap stocks available for the Foolish investor who is willing to look. Take telecommunications giant Telstra Group Ltd (ASX: TLS), for example. Its shares have taken a hit in 2024 and now trade at $3.55 per share, down from a 52-week high of $4.42 on 21 June 2023.

This decline could present a potential buying opportunity for savvy investors looking for a cheap stock with strong fundamentals. Let's dig into why Telstra might be a bargain worth considering.

Why is Telstra's stock cheap now?

Over the past year, Telstra shares have fallen around 18%, underperforming the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) by 28%. This isn't what makes it a cheap stock, though.

The slump has pushed Telstra's price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio down to 19.7 at the time of publication. Notably, the stock hasn't traded at this valuation since 2017, when it ended the year on a P/E of 13.4.

For context, the current multiple implies that investors are paying $19.70 for every $1 of the company's earnings.

This is also a significant drop from its peak P/E of 27 in 2022 and a 16% discount from the three-year average multiple of 23.5 times. This is calculated as the average of the P/E multiples recorded at year-end.

This suggests that the current P/E ratio is on the lower end of its three-year range, making it potentially cheap.

YearP/E multiple (year-end)
202021.5
202123.1
202225.75
Average

Current
23.5

19.7

Allan Gray's investment chief, Simon Mawhinney, echoes this sentiment. Allan Gray first bought Telstra shares in the first quarter of this year, The Australian Financial Review reports.

Mawhinney believes this is one of the rare occasions in the past decade when Telstra is available at a "not unreasonable price", thanks to its recent decline.

Do analysts think Telstra is a cheap stock?

Goldman Sachs analysts see substantial income potential in Telstra shares, even amid recent disappointments in its trading updates.

The broker has projected fully franked dividends of 18 cents per share for FY 2024 and 18.5 cents per share for FY 2025, according to my colleague James. At the current share price of $3.55, these projections translate to forward dividend yields of approximately 51% and 5.2% for FY 2024 and FY 2025, respectively.

Goldman Sachs maintains a buy rating on the company with a price target of $4.25 per share.

Auburn Capital also rates the telco giant a buy amid the continued downtrend in its share price. According to my Foolish colleague Tristan, the broker values Telstra even higher at $4.50 per share.

On a trailing earnings per share (EPS) of 17.6 cents per share, this valuation implies a P/E of 25.5 times ($4.50 / 0.176 = 25.5) – equal to a 30% value gap at the time of writing. In my opinion, that makes Telstra a cheap stock today.

Can Telstra trade higher?

The market's reaction to the news Telstra will cut up to 2.800 jobs in April fanned the flames that were already charring the telco's share price.

Representing almost 10% of the company's staff headcount, the job cuts are part of a wider strategic review at the company.

In April, Telstra announced a review of its health division, not ruling out a potential sale of the unit. Before that, in 2021, the firm had revealed plans to cut $500 million in costs by 2025.

Known as its "T25 cost reduction ambition", the blueprints include a planned $200–$250 million in annual restructuring costs over the next two years.

The job cuts and other strategic moves would reduce costs by $350 million in the coming two years, the company recently said.

It noted:

In addition to starting the reset of Telstra Enterprise, Telstra will reshape some of its internal operations by moving its Global Business Services function into other parts of the business.

This will help simplify processes and empower leaders closest to customers to make more decisions.

Telstra's efforts in cleaning up the business can't be ignored, in my view and could be grounds for a change in P/E multiple.

Foolish takeaway

Despite a challenging year, I think Telstra's current valuation and projected dividend yield could present a compelling case.

Trading at a trailing P/E of 19.7, Telstra's valuation is compressed compared to its historical averages. It is a cheap stock compared to years past.

Just remember, investing comes with risk. Always conduct your due diligence and consider your own personal financial circumstances.

Motley Fool contributor Zach Bristow has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Telstra Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

More on Share Market News

Red buy button on an apple keyboard with a finger on it representing asx tech shares to buy today
Broker Notes

Top brokers name 3 ASX shares to buy next week

Brokers gave buy ratings to these ASX shares last week. Why are they bullish?

Read more »

A miner stands in front oh an excavator at a mine site
Opinions

3 reasons ASX uranium stocks can keep charging higher into 2025

I think the recent sell-down in ASX uranium stocks has been overdone. Here’s why.

Read more »

A businessman sits on a chair looking at a pile of chairs stacked up to the ceiling of a white empty room.
Share Market News

Here's how the ASX 200 market sectors stacked up last week

Consumer discretionary shares led the ASX 200 market sectors last week with a 0.36% gain.

Read more »

A man holding a cup of coffee puts his thumb up and smiles while at laptop.
Opinions

3 reasons to be positive on ASX 200 shares in FY25 (and 3 to be wary)

Vinay Ranjan from Airlie Funds Management says we should ignore market noise and buy quality stocks.

Read more »

A woman uses her phone to pay at the counter, with a queue of more customers behind.
Share Market News

Where Aussies are spending their money, and the ASX shares that could benefit

Households are still opening their wallets on certain categories.

Read more »

A young well-dressed couple at a luxury resort celebrate successful life choices.
Share Market News

With nothing in my savings account, I'd use Warren Buffett's golden rule to build wealth

Here's how you could grow your wealth by following the Oracle of Omaha's golden rule.

Read more »

A man clenches his fists in excitement as gold coins fall from the sky.
Broker Notes

These ASX shares could rise 25% to ~50%

Big returns could await buyers of these shares according to analysts.

Read more »

A businessman hugs his computer and smiles.
Opinions

2 outstanding ASX 200 shares to buy and hold for a decade

I think these ASX 200 shares will continue to reward investors for years to come.

Read more »