Mapfre, S.A.’s (BME:MAP) price-to-earnings (or “P/E”) ratio of 8.8x might make it look like a buy right now compared to the market in Spain, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios above 15x and even P/E’s above 29x are quite common. Although, it’s not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it’s limited.
There hasn’t been much to differentiate Mapfre’s and the market’s earnings growth lately. It might be that many expect the mediocre earnings performance to degrade, which has repressed the P/E. If not, then existing shareholders have reason to be optimistic about the future direction of the share price.free report on Mapfre.
How Is Mapfre’s Growth Trending?
In order to justify its P/E ratio, Mapfre would need to produce sluggish growth that’s trailing the market.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered a decent 4.2% gain to the company’s bottom line. Still, lamentably EPS has fallen 32% in aggregate from three years ago, which is disappointing. Accordingly, shareholders would have felt downbeat about the medium-term rates of earnings growth.
Turning to the outlook, the next three years should generate growth of 11% each year as estimated by the eight analysts watching the company. Meanwhile, the rest of the market is forecast to only expand by 5.2% per year, which is noticeably less attractive.
With this information, we find it odd that Mapfre is trading at a P/E lower than the market. It looks like most investors are not convinced at all that the company can achieve future growth expectations.
The Key Takeaway
It’s argued the price-to-earnings ratio is an inferior measure of value within certain industries, but it can be a powerful business sentiment indicator.
We’ve established that Mapfre currently trades on a much 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 significant pressure on the P/E ratio. It appears many are indeed anticipating earnings instability, because these conditions should normally provide a boost to the share price.
It’s always necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We’ve identified 1 warning sign with Mapfre, and understanding should be part of your investment process.
It’s important to make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio 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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