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What You Can Learn From Cogstate Limited's (ASX:CGS) P/E

·3 min read

When close to half the companies in Australia have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") below 15x, you may consider Cogstate Limited (ASX:CGS) as a stock to avoid entirely with its 25.6x P/E ratio. However, the P/E might be quite high for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.

Cogstate certainly has been doing a good job lately as it's been growing earnings more than most other companies. It seems that many are expecting the strong earnings performance to persist, which has raised the P/E. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.

Check out our latest analysis for Cogstate

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

Is There Enough Growth For Cogstate?

Cogstate's P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's expected to deliver very strong growth, and importantly, perform much better than the market.

Taking a look back first, we see that the company grew earnings per share by an impressive 42% 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.

Shifting to the future, estimates from the three analysts covering the company suggest earnings should grow by 24% each year over the next three years. With the market only predicted to deliver 14% each year, the company is positioned for a stronger earnings result.

With this information, we can see why Cogstate is trading at such a high P/E compared to the market. Apparently shareholders aren't keen to offload something that is potentially eyeing a more prosperous future.

What We Can Learn From Cogstate's P/E?

We'd say 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 Cogstate maintains its high P/E on the strength of its forecast growth being higher than the wider market, as expected. At this stage investors feel the potential for a deterioration in earnings isn't great enough to justify a lower P/E ratio. Unless these conditions change, they will continue to provide strong support to the share price.

Many other vital risk factors can be found on the company's balance sheet. You can assess many of the main risks through our free balance sheet analysis for Cogstate with six simple checks.

Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Cogstate. 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.

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.

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