With a median price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of close to 15x in the United States, you could be forgiven for feeling indifferent about News Corporation's (NASDAQ:NWSA) P/E ratio of 15.7x. Although, it's not wise to simply ignore the P/E without explanation as investors may be disregarding a distinct opportunity or a costly mistake.
Recent times have been advantageous for News as its earnings have been rising faster than most other companies. It might be that many expect the strong earnings performance to wane, which has kept the P/E from rising. If you like the company, you'd be hoping this isn't the case so that you could potentially pick up some stock while it's not quite in favour.
If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on News.
How Is News' Growth Trending?
The only time you'd be comfortable seeing a P/E like News' is when the company's growth is tracking the market closely.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered an exceptional 89% gain to the company's bottom line. The latest three year period has also seen an excellent 305% overall rise in EPS, aided by its short-term performance. Accordingly, shareholders would have probably welcomed those medium-term rates of earnings growth.
Shifting to the future, estimates from the analysts covering the company suggest earnings should grow by 0.4% per annum over the next three years. That's shaping up to be materially lower than the 9.7% per annum growth forecast for the broader market.
With this information, we find it interesting that News is trading at a fairly similar P/E to the market. It seems most investors are ignoring the fairly limited growth expectations and are willing to pay up for exposure to the stock. Maintaining these prices will be difficult to achieve as this level of earnings growth is likely to weigh down the shares eventually.
The Key Takeaway
Generally, our preference is to limit the use of the price-to-earnings ratio to establishing what the market thinks about the overall health of a company.
Our examination of News' analyst forecasts revealed that its inferior earnings outlook isn't impacting its P/E as much as we would have predicted. Right now we are uncomfortable with the P/E as the predicted future earnings aren't likely to support a more positive sentiment for long. Unless these conditions improve, it's challenging to accept these prices as being reasonable.
Don't forget that there may be other risks. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for News that you should be aware of.
If P/E ratios interest you, you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly and trade on P/E's below 20x.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
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