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Can Barratt Developments withstand the coronavirus chaos?

Ben Hobson

Shares in Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV) are currently trading at 533 but a key question for investors is how the economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19 will affect the price.

The answer comes down to judging whether Barratt Developments is well placed to withstand economic shocks and ride out market volatility. To do that, it's essential to look at the profile of the stock to see where its strengths are.

Barratt Developments is a player in the Homebuilding & Construction Supplies sector. The good news is that it scores well against some important financial and technical measures. It's a large-cap share with strong exposure to two very influential drivers of investment returns: high quality and a relatively cheap valuation.

To understand where that shows up, here's a closer look:

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Buying quality at a fair price

Good quality stocks are loved by the market because they're more likely to be solid, dependable businesses. Profitability is important, but so is the firm's financial strength. A track record of improving finances is essential.

One of the stand out quality metrics for Barratt Developments is that it passes 6 of the 9 financial tests in the Piotroski F-Score. The F-Score is a world-class accounting-based checklist for finding stocks with an improving financial health trend. A good F-Score suggests that the company has strong signs of quality.

While quality is important, no-one wants to overpay for a stock, so an appealing valuation is vital too. With a weaker economy, earnings forecasts are unclear right across the market. But there are some valuation measures that can help, and one of them is the Earnings Yield.

Earnings Yield compares a company's profit with its market valuation (worked out by dividing its operating profit by its enterprise value). It gives you a total value of the stock (including its cash and debt), which makes it easier to compare different stocks. As a percentage, the higher the Earnings Yield, the better value the share.

A rule of thumb for a reasonable Earnings Yield might be 5%, and the Earnings Yield for Barratt Developments is currently 18.0%.

In summary, good quality and relatively cheap valuations are pointers to those stocks that are some of the most appealing to contrarian value investors. It's among these shares that genuine mis-pricing can be found. Once the market recognises that these quality firms are on sale, those prices often rebound.

Find the strongest shares in the stock market

Finding good quality stocks at attractive prices is a strategy used by some of the world's most successful investors. If you want to find more shares that meet these rules, you can see a comprehensive list on Stockopedia's StockRanks page.