Piper Sandler Companies' (NYSE:PIPR) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 34.4x 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 19x 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.
Recent times haven't been advantageous for Piper Sandler Companies as its earnings have been falling quicker than most other companies. One possibility is that the P/E is high because investors think the company will turn things around completely and accelerate past most others in the market. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.
Keen to find out how analysts think Piper Sandler Companies' future stacks up against the industry? In that case, our free report is a great place to start.
How Is Piper Sandler Companies' Growth Trending?
Piper Sandler Companies' 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, dishearteningly the company's profits fell to the tune of 44%. At least EPS has managed not to go completely backwards from three years ago in aggregate, thanks to the earlier period of growth. Therefore, it's fair to say that earnings growth has been inconsistent recently for the company.
Turning to the outlook, the next year should bring diminished returns, with earnings decreasing 55% as estimated by the three analysts watching the company. Meanwhile, the broader market is forecast to expand by 13%, which paints a poor picture.
In light of this, it's alarming that Piper Sandler Companies' P/E sits above the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are hoping for a turnaround in the company's business prospects, but the analyst cohort is not so confident this will happen. 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.
The Bottom Line On Piper Sandler Companies' P/E
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.
Our examination of Piper Sandler Companies' 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. Right now we are increasingly uncomfortable with the high P/E as the predicted future earnings are highly unlikely to support such positive sentiment for long. This places 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 4 warning signs for Piper Sandler Companies that you need to be mindful of.
If these risks are making you reconsider your opinion on Piper Sandler Companies, 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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