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When close to half the companies in the United States have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") below 19x, you may consider Seagate Technology Holdings plc (NASDAQ:STX) as a stock to potentially avoid with its 21.5x P/E ratio. However, the P/E might be high for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.
While the market has experienced earnings growth lately, Seagate Technology Holdings' earnings have gone into reverse gear, which is not great. It might be that many expect the dour earnings performance to recover substantially, which has kept the P/E from collapsing. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.
Want the full picture on analyst estimates for the company? Then our free report on Seagate Technology Holdings will help you uncover what's on the horizon.
What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The High P/E?
There's an inherent assumption that a company should outperform the market for P/E ratios like Seagate Technology Holdings' to be considered reasonable.
If we review the last year of earnings, dishearteningly the company's profits fell to the tune of 41%. Even so, admirably EPS has lifted 39% 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.
Looking ahead now, EPS is anticipated to climb by 16% each year during the coming three years according to the analysts following the company. With the market only predicted to deliver 14% each year, the company is positioned for a stronger earnings result.
In light of this, it's understandable that Seagate Technology Holdings' P/E sits above the majority of other companies. Apparently shareholders aren't keen to offload something that is potentially eyeing a more prosperous future.
The Key Takeaway
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.
As we suspected, our examination of Seagate Technology Holdings' analyst forecasts revealed that its superior earnings outlook is contributing to its high P/E. Right now shareholders are comfortable with the P/E as they are quite confident future earnings aren't under threat. Unless these conditions change, they will continue to provide strong support to the share price.
Having said that, be aware Seagate Technology Holdings is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis, you should know about.
Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Seagate Technology Holdings. 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.
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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