GATX Corporation's (NYSE:GATX) Popularity With Investors Is Under Threat From Overpricing

GATX Corporation -1.20%

GATX Corporation




It's not a stretch to say that GATX Corporation's (NYSE:GATX) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 18x right now seems quite "middle-of-the-road" compared to the market in the United States, where the median P/E ratio is around 17x. Although, it's not wise to simply ignore the P/E without explanation as investors may be disregarding a distinct opportunity or a costly mistake.

With its earnings growth in positive territory compared to the declining earnings of most other companies, GATX has been doing quite well of late. It might be that many expect the strong earnings performance to deteriorate like the rest, which has kept the P/E from rising. 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 not quite in favour.

See our latest analysis for GATX

NYSE:GATX Price to Earnings Ratio vs Industry December 29th 2023
Keen to find out how analysts think GATX's future stacks up against the industry? In that case, our free report is a great place to start.

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

There's an inherent assumption that a company should be matching the market for P/E ratios like GATX's to be considered reasonable.

Retrospectively, the last year delivered an exceptional 41% gain to the company's bottom line. The latest three year period has also seen an excellent 34% overall rise in EPS, aided by its short-term performance. Accordingly, shareholders would have probably welcomed those medium-term rates of earnings growth.

Turning to the outlook, the next year should generate growth of 4.6% as estimated by the four analysts watching the company. With the market predicted to deliver 10% growth , the company is positioned for a weaker earnings result.

In light of this, it's curious that GATX's P/E sits in line with the majority of other companies. Apparently many investors in the company are less bearish than analysts indicate and aren't willing to let go of their stock right now. Maintaining these prices will be difficult to achieve as this level of earnings growth is likely to weigh down the shares eventually.

The Key Takeaway

Generally, our preference is to limit the use of the price-to-earnings ratio to establishing what the market thinks about the overall health of a company.

Our examination of GATX's analyst forecasts revealed that its inferior earnings outlook isn't impacting its P/E as much as we would have predicted. When we see a weak earnings outlook with slower than market growth, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the moderate P/E lower. This places shareholders' investments at risk and potential investors in danger of paying an unnecessary premium.

Having said that, be aware GATX is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those makes us a bit uncomfortable.

Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than GATX. 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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