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Many Still Looking Away From Donnelley Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:DFIN)

Simply Wall St

When close to half the companies in the United States have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") above 19x, you may consider Donnelley Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:DFIN) as an attractive investment with its 16.5x P/E ratio. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's limited.

Donnelley Financial Solutions has been struggling lately as its earnings have declined faster than most other companies. The P/E is probably low because investors think this poor earnings performance isn't going to improve at all. You'd much rather the company wasn't bleeding earnings if you still believe in the business. Or at the very least, you'd be hoping the earnings slide doesn't get any worse if your plan is to pick up some stock while it's out of favour.

View our latest analysis for Donnelley Financial Solutions

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Keen to find out how analysts think Donnelley Financial Solutions' future stacks up against the industry? In that case, our free report is a great place to start.

How Is Donnelley Financial Solutions' Growth Trending?

In order to justify its P/E ratio, Donnelley Financial Solutions would need to produce sluggish growth that's trailing the market.

Retrospectively, the last year delivered a frustrating 61% decrease to the company's bottom line. This means it has also seen a slide in earnings over the longer-term as EPS is down 37% in total over the last three years. Accordingly, shareholders would have felt downbeat about the medium-term rates of earnings growth.

Turning to the outlook, the next three years should generate growth of 20% each year as estimated by the five analysts watching the company. With the market only predicted to deliver 12% per year, the company is positioned for a stronger earnings result.

With this information, we find it odd that Donnelley Financial Solutions is trading at a P/E lower than the market. It looks like most investors are not convinced at all that the company can achieve future growth expectations.

What We Can Learn From Donnelley Financial Solutions' P/E?

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 Donnelley Financial Solutions currently trades on a much lower than expected P/E since its forecast growth is higher than the wider market. When we see a strong earnings outlook with faster-than-market growth, we assume potential risks are what might be placing significant pressure on the P/E ratio. At least price risks look to be very low, but investors seem to think future earnings could see a lot of volatility.

Plus, you should also learn about these 3 warning signs we've spotted with Donnelley Financial Solutions (including 1 which can't be ignored).

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).

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.