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Could the Saga share price double from current levels?

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Over the past 12 months, the Saga (LSE: SAGA) share price has been a pretty poor investment. Excluding dividends, the stock has declined around 68% since the beginning of July last year, compared to a decline of just 2% for the FTSE 100. 

However, during the past two weeks, Saga has staged a slight come back. After printing an all-time low of 33p in mid-June, the stock has since rebounded by more than 20% and is currently dealing for just under 40p per share.

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I think there’s a good chance this rally could continue, and eventually take the stock back up to where it was at the beginning of this year, above 100p, although that’s a long term target. In the near term, I think a more conservative goal of 60p-80p might be more accomplishable.

It all comes down to valuation

Over the past 12 months, as Saga has issued a string of dire trading updates, confidence in the business has evaporated. As a result, even though City analysts expect the company to report earnings of 7.5p share for its current financial year, the market doesn’t seem to trust this forecast.

A stock’s valuation gives us a lot of insight into what the market thinks about a company and Saga’s P/E of just 5.3 seems to suggest investors have almost no confidence in the business and its management. 

I’m not willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt just yet, but I do think there are some signs management’s efforts to stabilise the business are starting to work. As I noted the last time I covered the company, Saga’s insurance business, which has been the group’s problem child for the past two years, seems to be on the road to recovery. Meanwhile, there appears to be a robust demand from travellers for Saga’s new cruise offering. 

Granted, the company isn’t out of the woods just yet, but management seems to think the business has stabilised. If this trend continues throughout the rest of the year, I think there’s a good chance the market could re-rate the stock as Saga’s outlook improves, and its future becomes easier to determine.

The market dislikes uncertainty more than anything else, and the Saga share price has been shrouded in uncertainty for much of the past two years. If the company continues to report positive trading, the shroud of uncertainty should lift, and investors are likely to return. 

Double in value

As confidence in the business returns, I think the Saga share price could double in value. Historically, the stock has traded at a P/E of between 8 and 15, substantially above where it is today. 

I reckon even a modest improvement in the group’s fortunes could justify a P/E ratio in the high-single to low-double-digit range, giving a potential upside of 100% or more for investors who are willing to take the risk today. On top of this, the stock also supports a dividend yield of 10% at the time of writing.

So, if your’e looking for a company that has the potential to double your money, it might be worth taking a closer look at the Saga share price.

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Rupert Hargreaves owns no share mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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