- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Casella Waste Systems, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:CWST) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 78.6x might make it look like a strong sell right now compared to the market in the United States, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios below 18x and even P/E's below 10x are quite common. However, the P/E might be quite high for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.
With its earnings growth in positive territory compared to the declining earnings of most other companies, Casella Waste Systems has been doing quite well of late. The P/E is probably high because investors think the company will continue to navigate the broader market headwinds better than most. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.
If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on Casella Waste Systems.
Does Growth Match The High P/E?
The only time you'd be truly comfortable seeing a P/E as steep as Casella Waste Systems' is when the company's growth is on track to outshine the market decidedly.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered an exceptional 72% gain to the company's bottom line. However, the latest three year period hasn't been as great in aggregate as it didn't manage to provide any growth at all. Accordingly, shareholders probably wouldn't have been overly satisfied with the unstable medium-term growth rates.
Looking ahead now, EPS is anticipated to climb by 14% each year during the coming three years according to the five analysts following the company. That's shaping up to be similar to the 13% per year growth forecast for the broader market.
With this information, we find it interesting that Casella Waste Systems is trading at a high P/E compared to the market. It seems most investors are ignoring the fairly average growth expectations and are willing to pay up for exposure to the stock. Although, additional gains will be difficult to achieve as this level of earnings growth is likely to weigh down the share price eventually.
The Key Takeaway
Typically, we'd caution against reading too much into price-to-earnings ratios when settling on investment decisions, though it can reveal plenty about what other market participants think about the company.
Our examination of Casella Waste Systems' analyst forecasts revealed that its market-matching earnings outlook isn't impacting its high P/E as much as we would have predicted. Right now we are uncomfortable with the relatively high share price as the predicted future earnings aren't likely to support such positive sentiment for long. This places shareholders' investments at risk and potential investors in danger of paying an unnecessary premium.
Before you take the next step, you should know about the 2 warning signs for Casella Waste Systems (1 is significant!) that we have uncovered.
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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.