ASGN Incorporated's (NYSE:ASGN) Business Is Yet to Catch Up With Its Share Price

On Assignment, Inc. -1.09%

On Assignment, Inc.

ASGN

95.45

-1.09%

With a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 20.3x ASGN Incorporated (NYSE:ASGN) may be sending bearish signals at the moment, given that almost half of all companies in the United States have P/E ratios under 17x and even P/E's lower than 9x 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 as high as it is.

ASGN has been struggling lately as its earnings have declined faster 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. If not, then existing shareholders may be very nervous about the viability of the share price.

View our latest analysis for ASGN

pe-multiple-vs-industry
NYSE:ASGN Price to Earnings Ratio vs Industry December 28th 2023
If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on ASGN.

Does Growth Match The High P/E?

In order to justify its P/E ratio, ASGN would need to produce impressive growth in excess of the market.

Taking a look back first, the company's earnings per share growth last year wasn't something to get excited about as it posted a disappointing decline of 15%. Even so, admirably EPS has lifted 49% in aggregate from three years ago, notwithstanding the last 12 months. Accordingly, while they would have preferred to keep the run going, shareholders would probably welcome the medium-term rates of earnings growth.

Turning to the outlook, the next year should bring diminished returns, with earnings decreasing 3.3% as estimated by the seven analysts watching the company. With the market predicted to deliver 10% growth , that's a disappointing outcome.

In light of this, it's alarming that ASGN's 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.

What We Can Learn From ASGN's P/E?

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.

Our examination of ASGN'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. 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. Unless these conditions improve markedly, it's very challenging to accept these prices as being reasonable.

Plus, you should also learn about these 2 warning signs we've spotted with ASGN.

Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than ASGN. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have reasonable P/E ratios and have grown earnings strongly.

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