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Fiera Capital Corporation (TSE:FSZ) Investors Are Less Pessimistic Than Expected

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With a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 17.3x Fiera Capital Corporation (TSE:FSZ) may be sending very bearish signals at the moment, given that almost half of all companies in Canada have P/E ratios under 10x and even P/E's lower than 5x are not unusual. 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.

Fiera Capital 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. If not, then existing shareholders might be a little nervous about the viability of the share price.

Check out our latest analysis for Fiera Capital

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If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on Fiera Capital.

How Is Fiera Capital's Growth Trending?

The only time you'd be truly comfortable seeing a P/E as steep as Fiera Capital's is when the company's growth is on track to outshine the market decidedly.

Taking a look back first, we see that the company grew earnings per share by an impressive 391% last year. Although, its longer-term performance hasn't been as strong with three-year EPS growth being relatively non-existent overall. Therefore, it's fair to say that earnings growth has been inconsistent recently for the company.

Looking ahead now, EPS is anticipated to slump, contracting by 1.3% during the coming year according to the five analysts following the company. Meanwhile, the broader market is forecast to expand by 15%, which paints a poor picture.

With this information, we find it concerning that Fiera Capital is trading at a P/E higher than the market. It seems most investors are hoping for a turnaround in the company's business prospects, but the analyst cohort is not so confident this will happen. There's a very good chance these shareholders are setting themselves up for future disappointment if the P/E falls to levels more in line with the negative growth outlook.

The Key Takeaway

While the price-to-earnings ratio shouldn't be the defining factor in whether you buy a stock or not, it's quite a capable barometer of earnings expectations.

We've established that Fiera Capital currently trades on a much higher than expected P/E for a company whose earnings are forecast to decline. Right now we are increasingly uncomfortable with the high P/E as the predicted future earnings are highly unlikely to support such positive sentiment for long. This places shareholders' investments at significant risk and potential investors in danger of paying an excessive premium.

Before you take the next step, you should know about the 3 warning signs for Fiera Capital that we have uncovered.

It's important to make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20x).

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

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.