When close to half the companies in Australia have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") below 15x, you may consider MNF Group Limited (ASX:MNF) as a stock to avoid entirely with its 33.4x P/E ratio. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's so lofty.
MNF Group certainly has been doing a good job lately as it's been growing earnings more than most other companies. The P/E is probably high because investors think this strong earnings performance will continue. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.free report is a great place to start.
Does Growth Match The High P/E?
There's an inherent assumption that a company should far outperform the market for P/E ratios like MNF Group's to be considered reasonable.
If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a terrific increase of 32%. EPS has also lifted 9.9% in aggregate from three years ago, mostly thanks to the last 12 months of growth. Therefore, it's fair to say the earnings growth recently has been respectable for the company.
Looking ahead now, EPS is anticipated to climb by 11% each year during the coming three years according to the three analysts following the company. That's shaping up to be similar to the 11% per year growth forecast for the broader market.
In light of this, it's curious that MNF Group's P/E sits above the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are ignoring the fairly average growth expectations and are willing to pay up for exposure to the stock. Although, additional gains will be difficult to achieve as this level of earnings growth is likely to weigh down the share price eventually.
The Final Word
The price-to-earnings ratio's power isn't primarily as a valuation instrument but rather to gauge current investor sentiment and future expectations.
Our examination of MNF Group's analyst forecasts revealed that its market-matching earnings outlook isn't impacting its high P/E as much as we would have predicted. When we see an average earnings outlook with market-like growth, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the high P/E lower. Unless these conditions improve, it's challenging to accept these prices as being reasonable.
And what about other risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for MNF Group you should know about.
Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than MNF Group. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that sit on P/E's below 20x and have grown earnings strongly.
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