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With a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 78x eGain Corporation (NASDAQ:EGAN) may be sending very bearish signals at the moment, given that almost half of all companies in the United States have P/E ratios under 19x and even P/E's lower than 10x are not unusual. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's so lofty.
eGain certainly has been doing a good job lately as its earnings growth has been positive while most other companies have been seeing their earnings go backwards. It seems that many are expecting the company to continue defying the broader market adversity, which has increased investors’ willingness to pay up for the stock. If not, then existing shareholders might be a little nervous about the viability of the share price.
If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on eGain.
Is There Enough Growth For eGain?
In order to justify its P/E ratio, eGain would need to produce outstanding growth well in excess of the market.
If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a terrific increase of 37%. Still, EPS has barely risen at all from three years ago in total, which is not ideal. Therefore, it's fair to say that earnings growth has been inconsistent recently for the company.
Shifting to the future, estimates from the five analysts covering the company suggest earnings growth is heading into negative territory, declining 38% over the next year. That's not great when the rest of the market is expected to grow by 5.1%.
With this information, we find it concerning that eGain is trading at a P/E higher than the market. Apparently many investors in the company reject the analyst cohort's pessimism and aren't willing to let go of their stock at any price. There's a very good chance these shareholders are setting themselves up for future disappointment if the P/E falls to levels more in line with the negative growth outlook.
What We Can Learn From eGain's P/E?
Generally, our preference is to limit the use of the price-to-earnings ratio to establishing what the market thinks about the overall health of a company.
Our examination of eGain's analyst forecasts revealed that its outlook for shrinking earnings isn't impacting its high P/E anywhere near as much as we would have predicted. When we see a poor outlook with earnings heading backwards, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the high P/E lower. This places shareholders' investments at significant risk and potential investors in danger of paying an excessive premium.
Having said that, be aware eGain is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those is potentially serious.
Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than eGain. 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.
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.
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