With a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 16.9x Dev Information Technology Limited (NSE:DEVIT) may be sending bearish signals at the moment, given that almost half of all companies in India have P/E ratios under 13x and even P/E's lower than 7x are not unusual. However, the P/E might be high for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.
For example, consider that Dev Information Technology's financial performance has been poor lately as it's earnings have been in decline. It might be that many expect the company to still outplay most other companies over the coming period, which has kept the P/E from collapsing. If not, then existing shareholders may be quite nervous about the viability of the share price.free data-rich visualisation to see how the company stacks up on earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Does Growth Match The High P/E?
The only time you'd be truly comfortable seeing a P/E as high as Dev Information Technology's is when the company's growth is on track to outshine the market.
If we review the last year of earnings, dishearteningly the company's profits fell to the tune of 15%. The last three years don't look nice either as the company has shrunk EPS by 11% in aggregate. Accordingly, shareholders would have felt downbeat about the medium-term rates of earnings growth.
Comparing that to the market, which is predicted to deliver 3.1% growth in the next 12 months, the company's downward momentum based on recent medium-term earnings results is a sobering picture.
In light of this, it's alarming that Dev Information Technology's P/E sits above the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are ignoring the recent poor growth rate and are hoping for a turnaround in the company's business prospects. Only the boldest would assume these prices are sustainable as a continuation of recent earnings trends is likely to weigh heavily on the share price eventually.
The Bottom Line On Dev Information Technology's P/E
Using the price-to-earnings ratio alone to determine if you should sell your stock isn't sensible, however it can be a practical guide to the company's future prospects.
We've established that Dev Information Technology currently trades on a much higher than expected P/E since its recent earnings have been in decline over the medium-term. When we see earnings heading backwards and underperforming the market forecasts, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the high P/E lower. Unless the recent medium-term conditions improve markedly, it's very challenging to accept these prices as being reasonable.
You need to take note of risks, for example - Dev Information Technology has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is significant) we think you should know about.
If these risks are making you reconsider your opinion on Dev Information Technology, explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there.
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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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