- United Kingdom
- Oil and Gas
Shell plc's (LON:SHEL) Low P/E No Reason For Excitement
When close to half the companies in the United Kingdom have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") above 15x, you may consider Shell plc (LON:SHEL) as a highly attractive investment with its 4.8x P/E ratio. However, the P/E might be quite low for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.
With earnings growth that's superior to most other companies of late, Shell has been doing relatively well. It might be that many expect the strong earnings performance to degrade substantially, which has repressed the P/E. 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 out of favour.
See our latest analysis for ShellIf you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on Shell.
What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The Low P/E?
In order to justify its P/E ratio, Shell would need to produce anemic growth that's substantially trailing the market.
If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a terrific increase of 122%. The strong recent performance means it was also able to grow EPS by 209% in total over the last three years. Therefore, it's fair to say the earnings growth recently has been superb for the company.
Turning to the outlook, the next three years should bring diminished returns, with earnings decreasing 14% per annum as estimated by the analysts watching the company. With the market predicted to deliver 9.8% growth each year, that's a disappointing outcome.
With this information, we are not surprised that Shell is trading at a P/E lower than the market. However, shrinking earnings are unlikely to lead to a stable P/E over the longer term. Even just maintaining these prices could be difficult to achieve as the weak outlook is weighing down the shares.
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.
We've established that Shell maintains its low P/E on the weakness of its forecast for sliding earnings, as expected. Right now shareholders are accepting the low P/E as they concede future earnings probably won't provide any pleasant surprises. Unless these conditions improve, they will continue to form a barrier for the share price around these levels.
You need to take note of risks, for example - Shell has 2 warning signs (and 1 which is potentially serious) we think you should know about.
If you're unsure about the strength of Shell's business, why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals for some other companies you may have missed.
Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.
Find out whether Shell is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.View the Free Analysis
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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.
Shell plc operates as an energy and petrochemical company Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, the United States, and Rest of the Americas.
Flawless balance sheet with solid track record.