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Cautious Investors Not Rewarding OneMain Holdings, Inc.'s (NYSE:OMF) Performance Completely

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OneMain Holdings, Inc.'s (NYSE:OMF) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 6.9x might make it look like a strong buy right now compared to the market in the United States, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios above 19x and even P/E's above 38x are quite common. However, the P/E might be quite low for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.

The recently shrinking earnings for OneMain Holdings have been in line with the market. It might be that many expect the company's earnings performance to degrade further, which has repressed the P/E. You'd much rather the company wasn't bleeding earnings if you still believe in the business. In saying that, existing shareholders may feel hopeful about the share price if the company's earnings continue tracking the market.

View our latest analysis for OneMain Holdings

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Want the full picture on analyst estimates for the company? Then our free report on OneMain Holdings will help you uncover what's on the horizon.

Is There Any Growth For OneMain Holdings?

In order to justify its P/E ratio, OneMain Holdings would need to produce anemic growth that's substantially trailing the market.

If we review the last year of earnings, dishearteningly the company's profits fell to the tune of 4.8%. Even so, admirably EPS has lifted 394% in aggregate from three years ago, notwithstanding the last 12 months. So we can start by confirming that the company has generally done a very good job of growing earnings over that time, even though it had some hiccups along the way.

Turning to the outlook, the next three years should generate growth of 13% per year as estimated by the analysts watching the company. With the market predicted to deliver 12% growth each year, the company is positioned for a comparable earnings result.

In light of this, it's peculiar that OneMain Holdings' P/E sits below the majority of other companies. Apparently some shareholders are doubtful of the forecasts and have been accepting lower selling prices.

What We Can Learn From OneMain Holdings' P/E?

Typically, we'd caution against reading too much into price-to-earnings ratios when settling on investment decisions, though it can reveal plenty about what other market participants think about the company.

Our examination of OneMain Holdings' analyst forecasts revealed that its market-matching earnings outlook isn't contributing to its P/E as much as we would have predicted. There could be some unobserved threats to earnings preventing the P/E ratio from matching the outlook. It appears some are indeed anticipating earnings instability, because these conditions should normally provide more support to the share price.

Plus, you should also learn about these 3 warning signs we've spotted with OneMain Holdings (including 1 which is concerning).

If you're unsure about the strength of OneMain Holdings' business, why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals for some other companies you may have missed.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.