There wouldn't be many who think Kronos Worldwide, Inc.'s (NYSE:KRO) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 19.4x is worth a mention when the median P/E in the United States is similar at about 19x. Although, it's not wise to simply ignore the P/E without explanation as investors may be disregarding a distinct opportunity or a costly mistake.
For instance, Kronos Worldwide's receding earnings in recent times would have to be some food for thought. It might be that many expect the company to put the disappointing earnings performance behind them over the coming period, which has kept the P/E from falling. If you like the company, you'd at least be hoping this is the case so that you could potentially pick up some stock while it's not quite in favour.
Although there are no analyst estimates available for Kronos Worldwide, take a look at this free data-rich visualisation to see how the company stacks up on earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The P/E?
The only time you'd be comfortable seeing a P/E like Kronos Worldwide's is when the company's growth is tracking the market closely.
Taking a look back first, the company's earnings per share growth last year wasn't something to get excited about as it posted a disappointing decline of 37%. The last three years don't look nice either as the company has shrunk EPS by 74% in aggregate. So unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that the company has not done a great job of growing earnings over that time.
Weighing that medium-term earnings trajectory against the broader market's one-year forecast for expansion of 4.4% shows it's an unpleasant look.
In light of this, it's somewhat alarming that Kronos Worldwide's P/E sits in line with the majority of other companies. Apparently many investors in the company are way less bearish than recent times would indicate and aren't willing to let go of their stock right now. There's a good chance existing shareholders are setting themselves up for future disappointment if the P/E falls to levels more in line with the recent negative growth rates.
The Bottom Line On Kronos Worldwide's P/E
The price-to-earnings ratio's power isn't primarily as a valuation instrument but rather to gauge current investor sentiment and future expectations.
We've established that Kronos Worldwide currently trades on a higher than expected P/E since its recent earnings have been in decline over the medium-term. Right now we are uncomfortable with the P/E as this earnings performance is unlikely to support a more positive sentiment for long. Unless the recent medium-term conditions improve, it's challenging to accept these prices as being reasonable.
It is also worth noting that we have found 4 warning signs for Kronos Worldwide (1 is potentially serious!) that you need to take into consideration.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with a strong growth track record, trading on a P/E below 20x.
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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