Teekay Tankers Ltd.'s (NYSE:TNK) Low P/E No Reason For Excitement

Teekay Tankers Ltd. Class A +0.79%

Teekay Tankers Ltd. Class A

TNK

62.77

+0.79%

Teekay Tankers Ltd.'s (NYSE:TNK) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 3.9x might make it look like a strong buy right now compared to the market in the United States, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios above 17x and even P/E's above 32x are quite common. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly reduced P/E.

Recent times have been pleasing for Teekay Tankers as its earnings have risen in spite of the market's earnings going into reverse. One possibility is that the P/E is low because investors think the company's earnings are going to fall away like everyone else's soon. If you like the company, you'd be hoping this isn't the case so that you could potentially pick up some stock while it's out of favour.

Check out our latest analysis for Teekay Tankers

pe-multiple-vs-industry
NYSE:TNK Price to Earnings Ratio vs Industry April 29th 2024
If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on Teekay Tankers.

What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The Low P/E?

In order to justify its P/E ratio, Teekay Tankers would need to produce anemic growth that's substantially trailing the market.

If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a terrific increase of 123%. The strong recent performance means it was also able to grow EPS by 479% in total over the last three years. Therefore, it's fair to say the earnings growth recently has been superb for the company.

Looking ahead now, EPS is anticipated to slump, contracting by 9.3% per annum during the coming three years according to the five analysts following the company. Meanwhile, the broader market is forecast to expand by 11% per annum, which paints a poor picture.

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 Key Takeaway

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. At this stage investors feel the potential for an improvement in earnings isn't great enough to justify a higher P/E ratio. 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 potentially serious!) 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.

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