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With a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 34.3x Radius Residential Care Limited (NZSE:RAD) may be sending very bearish signals at the moment, given that almost half of all companies in New Zealand have P/E ratios under 17x and even P/E's lower than 9x are not unusual. However, the P/E might be quite high for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.
Earnings have risen firmly for Radius Residential Care recently, which is pleasing to see. It might be that many expect the respectable earnings performance to beat most other companies over the coming period, which has increased investors’ willingness to pay up for the stock. If not, then existing shareholders may be a little nervous about the viability of the share price.
We don't have analyst forecasts, but you can see how recent trends are setting up the company for the future by checking out our free report on Radius Residential Care's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Does Growth Match The High P/E?
Radius Residential Care'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.
If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a terrific increase of 16%. Still, incredibly EPS has fallen 58% in total from three years ago, which is quite disappointing. Accordingly, shareholders would have felt downbeat about the medium-term rates of earnings growth.
Comparing that to the market, which is predicted to deliver 3.6% growth in the next 12 months, the company's downward momentum based on recent medium-term earnings results is a sobering picture.
With this information, we find it concerning that Radius Residential Care is trading at a P/E higher than the market. It seems most investors are ignoring the recent poor growth rate and are hoping for a turnaround in the company's business prospects. Only the boldest would assume these prices are sustainable as a continuation of recent earnings trends is likely to weigh heavily on the share price eventually.
The Final Word
It's argued the price-to-earnings ratio is an inferior measure of value within certain industries, but it can be a powerful business sentiment indicator.
We've established that Radius Residential Care currently trades on a much higher than expected P/E since its recent earnings have been in decline over the medium-term. When we see earnings heading backwards and underperforming the market forecasts, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the high P/E lower. If recent medium-term earnings trends continue, it will place shareholders' investments at significant risk and potential investors in danger of paying an excessive premium.
We don't want to rain on the parade too much, but we did also find 5 warning signs for Radius Residential Care (4 are a bit concerning!) that you need to be mindful of.
If P/E ratios interest you, you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly and trade on P/E's below 20x.
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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.