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Verizon Communications Inc.'s (NYSE:VZ) Low P/E No Reason For Excitement

When close to half the companies in the United States have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") above 14x, you may consider Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) as an attractive investment with its 7.7x P/E ratio. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the reduced P/E.

With earnings growth that's inferior to most other companies of late, Verizon Communications has been relatively sluggish. The P/E is probably low because investors think this lacklustre earnings performance isn't going to get any better. If this is the case, then existing shareholders will probably struggle to get excited about the future direction of the share price.

View our latest analysis for Verizon Communications

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

Is There Any Growth For Verizon Communications?

In order to justify its P/E ratio, Verizon Communications would need to produce sluggish growth that's trailing the market.

Taking a look back first, we see that the company managed to grow earnings per share by a handy 3.1% last year. EPS has also lifted 29% in aggregate from three years ago, partly thanks to the last 12 months of growth. So we can start by confirming that the company has actually done a good job of growing earnings over that time.

Looking ahead now, EPS is anticipated to climb by 3.1% per year during the coming three years according to the analysts following the company. Meanwhile, the rest of the market is forecast to expand by 9.6% per year, which is noticeably more attractive.

In light of this, it's understandable that Verizon Communications' P/E sits below the majority of other companies. Apparently many shareholders weren't comfortable holding on while the company is potentially eyeing a less prosperous future.

The Key Takeaway

Using the price-to-earnings ratio alone to determine if you should sell your stock isn't sensible, however it can be a practical guide to the company's future prospects.

We've established that Verizon Communications maintains its low P/E on the weakness of its forecast growth being lower than the wider market, as expected. 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.

You should always think about risks. Case in point, we've spotted 2 warning signs for Verizon Communications you should be aware of.

You might be able to find a better investment than Verizon Communications. If you want a selection of possible candidates, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20x (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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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