It’s not a stretch to say that Hub Group, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:HUBG) price-to-earnings (or “P/E”) ratio of 20x right now seems quite “middle-of-the-road” compared to the market in the United States, where the median P/E ratio is around 18x. 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 haven’t been advantageous for Hub Group as its earnings have been falling quicker than most other companies. One possibility is that the P/E is moderate because investors think the company’s earnings trend will eventually fall in line with most others in the market. You’d much rather the company wasn’t bleeding earnings if you still believe in the business. If not, then existing shareholders may be a little nervous about the viability of the share price.free report on Hub Group will help you uncover what’s on the horizon.
Does Growth Match The P/E?
There’s an inherent assumption that a company should be matching the market for P/E ratios like Hub Group’s to be considered reasonable.
If we review the last year of earnings, dishearteningly the company’s profits fell to the tune of 28%. However, a few very strong years before that means that it was still able to grow EPS by an impressive 67% in total over the last three years. So we can start by confirming that the company has generally done a very good job of growing earnings over that time, even though it had some hiccups along the way.
Turning to the outlook, the next three years should generate growth of 16% per year as estimated by the analysts watching the company. With the market only predicted to deliver 13% each year, the company is positioned for a stronger earnings result.
In light of this, it’s curious that Hub Group’s P/E sits in line with the majority of other companies. It may be that most investors aren’t convinced the company can achieve future growth expectations.
What We Can Learn From Hub Group’s P/E?
We’d say the price-to-earnings ratio’s power isn’t primarily as a valuation instrument but rather to gauge current investor sentiment and future expectations.
We’ve established that Hub Group currently trades on a lower than expected P/E since its forecast growth is higher than the wider market. When we see a strong earnings outlook with faster-than-market growth, we assume potential risks are what might be placing pressure on the P/E ratio. At least the risk of a price drop looks to be subdued, but investors seem to think future earnings could see some volatility.
You always need to take note of risks, for example – Hub Group has 1 warning sign we think 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.
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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.
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