It’s not a stretch to say that Genie Energy Ltd.’s (NYSE:GNE) price-to-earnings (or “P/E”) ratio of 19.4x right now seems quite “middle-of-the-road” compared to the market in the United States, where the median P/E ratio is around 19x. While this might not raise any eyebrows, if the P/E ratio is not justified investors could be missing out on a potential opportunity or ignoring looming disappointment.
For example, consider that Genie Energy’s financial performance has been poor lately as it’s earnings have been in decline. It might be that many expect the company to put the disappointing earnings performance behind them over the coming period, which has kept the P/E from falling. If not, then existing shareholders may be a little nervous about the viability of the share price.free report on Genie Energy’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Does Growth Match The P/E?
Genie Energy’s P/E ratio would be typical for a company that’s only expected to deliver moderate growth, and importantly, perform in line with the market.
If we review the last year of earnings, dishearteningly the company’s profits fell to the tune of 24%. Unfortunately, that’s brought it right back to where it started three years ago with EPS growth being virtually non-existent overall during that time. Accordingly, shareholders probably wouldn’t have been overly satisfied with the unstable medium-term growth rates.
Weighing that recent medium-term earnings trajectory against the broader market’s one-year forecast for expansion of 4.4% shows it’s noticeably less attractive on an annualised basis.
In light of this, it’s curious that Genie Energy’s P/E sits in line with the majority of other companies. Apparently many investors in the company are less bearish than recent times would indicate and aren’t willing to let go of their stock right now. They may be setting themselves up for future disappointment if the P/E falls to levels more in line with recent growth rates.
The Final Word
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 Genie Energy revealed its three-year earnings trends aren’t impacting its P/E as much as we would have predicted, given they look worse than current market expectations. When we see weak earnings with slower than market growth, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the moderate P/E lower. If recent medium-term earnings trends continue, it will place shareholders’ investments at risk and potential investors in danger of paying an unnecessary premium.
And what about other risks? Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Genie Energy you should know about.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with a strong growth track record, trading on a P/E 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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