Today is shaping up negative for Cathay Pacific Airways Limited (HKG:293) shareholders, with the analysts delivering a substantial negative revision to this year's forecasts. Both revenue and earnings per share (EPS) estimates were cut sharply as analysts factored in the latest outlook for the business, concluding that they were too optimistic previously.
Following the downgrade, the consensus from 13 analysts covering Cathay Pacific Airways is for revenues of HK$66b in 2020, implying a sizeable 38% decline in sales compared to the last 12 months. After this downgrade, the company is anticipated to report a loss of HK$2.19 in 2020, a sharp decline from a profit over the last year. Yet before this consensus update, the analysts had been forecasting revenues of HK$76b and losses of HK$1.68 per share in 2020. Ergo, there's been a clear change in sentiment, with the analysts administering a notable cut to this year's revenue estimates, while at the same time increasing their loss per share forecasts.
The consensus price target fell 5.0% to HK$9.04, with the analysts clearly concerned about the company following the weaker revenue and earnings outlook. There's another way to think about price targets though, and that's to look at the range of price targets put forward by analysts, because a wide range of estimates could suggest a diverse view on possible outcomes for the business. There are some variant perceptions on Cathay Pacific Airways, with the most bullish analyst valuing it at HK$15.20 and the most bearish at HK$6.00 per share. We would probably assign less value to the forecasts in this situation, because such a wide range of estimates could imply that the future of this business is difficult to value accurately. With this in mind, we wouldn't rely too heavily on the consensus price target, as it is just an average and analysts clearly have some deeply divergent views on the business.
Taking a look at the bigger picture now, one of the ways we can understand these forecasts is to see how they compare to both past performance and industry growth estimates. These estimates imply that sales are expected to slow, with a forecast revenue decline of 38%, a significant reduction from annual growth of 1.5% over the last five years. By contrast, our data suggests that other companies (with analyst coverage) in the same industry are forecast to see their revenue grow 13% annually for the foreseeable future. So although its revenues are forecast to shrink, this cloud does not come with a silver lining - Cathay Pacific Airways is expected to lag the wider industry.
The Bottom Line
The most important thing to take away is that analysts increased their loss per share estimates for this year. Unfortunately analysts also downgraded their revenue estimates, and industry data suggests that Cathay Pacific Airways' revenues are expected to grow slower than the wider market. Given the scope of the downgrades, it would not be a surprise to see the market become more wary of the business.
With that said, the long-term trajectory of the company's earnings is a lot more important than next year. We have estimates - from multiple Cathay Pacific Airways analysts - going out to 2022, and you can see them free on our platform here.
Of course, seeing company management invest large sums of money in a stock can be just as useful as knowing whether analysts are downgrading their estimates. So you may also wish to search this free list of stocks that insiders are buying.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.