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Meta Platforms, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:META) Business And Shares Still Trailing The Market

Meta Platforms, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:META) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 10.9x might make it look like a buy right now compared to the market in the United States, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios above 14x and even P/E's above 27x are quite common. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the reduced P/E.

Meta Platforms hasn't been tracking well recently as its declining earnings compare poorly to other companies, which have seen some growth on average. The P/E is probably low because investors think this poor earnings performance isn't going to get any better. If you still like the company, you'd be hoping this isn't the case so that you could potentially pick up some stock while it's out of favour.

Check out our latest analysis for Meta Platforms

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Want the full picture on analyst estimates for the company? Then our free report on Meta Platforms will help you uncover what's on the horizon.

How Is Meta Platforms' Growth Trending?

There's an inherent assumption that a company should underperform the market for P/E ratios like Meta Platforms' to be considered reasonable.

If we review the last year of earnings, dishearteningly the company's profits fell to the tune of 11%. Still, the latest three year period has seen an excellent 110% overall rise in EPS, in spite of its unsatisfying short-term performance. 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 5.6% each year during the coming three years according to the analysts following the company. That's shaping up to be materially lower than the 9.6% per year growth forecast for the broader market.

In light of this, it's understandable that Meta Platforms' P/E sits below the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are expecting to see limited future growth and are only willing to pay a reduced amount for the stock.

What We Can Learn From Meta Platforms' 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.

As we suspected, our examination of Meta Platforms' analyst forecasts revealed that its inferior earnings outlook is contributing to its low P/E. At this stage investors feel the potential for an improvement in earnings isn't great enough to justify a higher P/E ratio. Unless these conditions improve, they will continue to form a barrier for the share price around these levels.

It is also worth noting that we have found 1 warning sign for Meta Platforms that you need to take into consideration.

If these risks are making you reconsider your opinion on Meta Platforms, explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there.

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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