Medtronic plc's (NYSE:MDT) Price Is Out Of Tune With Earnings

Medtronic Plc -2.48%

Medtronic Plc

MDT

80.13

-2.48%

When close to half the companies in the United States have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") below 16x, you may consider Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT) as a stock to avoid entirely with its 26.8x P/E ratio. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's so lofty.

Medtronic has been struggling lately as its earnings have declined faster than most other companies. It might be that many expect the dismal earnings performance to recover substantially, which has kept the P/E from collapsing. If not, then existing shareholders may be very nervous about the viability of the share price.

See our latest analysis for Medtronic

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

Is There Enough Growth For Medtronic?

The only time you'd be truly comfortable seeing a P/E as steep as Medtronic's is when the company's growth is on track to outshine the market decidedly.

If we review the last year of earnings, dishearteningly the company's profits fell to the tune of 5.0%. This has soured the latest three-year period, which nevertheless managed to deliver a decent 17% overall rise in EPS. So we can start by confirming that the company has generally done a good job of growing earnings over that time, even though it had some hiccups along the way.

Turning to the outlook, the next three years should generate growth of 12% each year as estimated by the analysts watching the company. With the market predicted to deliver 13% growth per annum, the company is positioned for a comparable earnings result.

In light of this, it's curious that Medtronic's P/E sits above the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are ignoring the fairly average growth expectations and are willing to pay up for exposure to the stock. These shareholders may be setting themselves up for disappointment if the P/E falls to levels more in line with the growth outlook.

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 Medtronic currently trades on a higher than expected P/E since its forecast growth is only in line with the wider market. When we see an average earnings outlook with market-like growth, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the high P/E lower. This places shareholders' investments at risk and potential investors in danger of paying an unnecessary premium.

And what about other risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Medtronic you should know about.

If these risks are making you reconsider your opinion on Medtronic, explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there.

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