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Teekay Tankers Ltd. (NYSE:TNK) shareholders would be excited to see that the share price has had a great month, posting a 27% gain and recovering from prior weakness. The bad news is that even after the stocks recovery in the last 30 days, shareholders are still underwater by about 5.8% over the last year.
Although its price has surged higher, given close to half the companies in the United States have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") above 22x, you may still consider Teekay Tankers as a highly attractive investment with its 5.2x 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 so limited.
With earnings growth that's superior to most other companies of late, Teekay Tankers has been doing relatively well. It might be that many expect the strong earnings performance to degrade substantially, which has repressed the P/E. If not, then existing shareholders have reason to be quite optimistic about the future direction of the share price.
If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on Teekay Tankers.
How Is Teekay Tankers' Growth Trending?
Teekay Tankers' P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's expected to deliver very poor growth or even falling earnings, and importantly, perform much worse than the market.
If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a terrific increase of 105%. Although, its longer-term performance hasn't been as strong with three-year EPS growth being relatively non-existent overall. So it appears to us that the company has had a mixed result in terms of growing earnings over that time.
Turning to the outlook, the next three years should bring diminished returns, with earnings decreasing 2.4% each year as estimated by the five analysts watching the company. With the market predicted to deliver 16% growth per year, that's a disappointing outcome.
With this information, we are not surprised that Teekay Tankers is trading at a P/E lower than the market. However, shrinking earnings are unlikely to lead to a stable P/E over the longer term. There's potential for the P/E to fall to even lower levels if the company doesn't improve its profitability.
The Final Word
Shares in Teekay Tankers are going to need a lot more upward momentum to get the company's P/E out of its slump. 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 Teekay Tankers' analyst forecasts revealed that its outlook for shrinking earnings is contributing to its low P/E. Right now shareholders are accepting the low P/E as they concede future earnings probably won't provide any pleasant surprises. It's hard to see the share price rising strongly in the near future under these circumstances.
And what about other risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Teekay Tankers (of which 1 is a bit concerning!) you should know about.
If these risks are making you reconsider your opinion on Teekay Tankers, explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there.
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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