Pinning Down Southern Copper Corporation's (NYSE:SCCO) P/E Is Difficult Right Now

Southern Copper Corporation -1.02% Pre

Southern Copper Corporation

SCCO

114.08

111.00

-1.02%

-2.70% Pre

With a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 23.4x Southern Copper Corporation (NYSE:SCCO) may be sending bearish signals at the moment, given that almost half of all companies in the United States have P/E ratios under 16x and even P/E's lower than 9x are not unusual. However, the P/E might be high for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.

With its earnings growth in positive territory compared to the declining earnings of most other companies, Southern Copper has been doing quite well of late. The P/E is probably high because investors think the company will continue to navigate the broader market headwinds better than most. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.

View our latest analysis for Southern Copper

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

Is There Enough Growth For Southern Copper?

Southern Copper's P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's expected to deliver solid growth, and importantly, perform better than the market.

Taking a look back first, we see that the company managed to grow earnings per share by a handy 12% last year. The latest three year period has also seen an excellent 124% overall rise in EPS, aided somewhat by its short-term performance. Therefore, it's fair to say the earnings growth recently has been superb for the company.

Shifting to the future, estimates from the analysts covering the company suggest earnings should grow by 4.3% per year over the next three years. Meanwhile, the rest of the market is forecast to expand by 13% each year, which is noticeably more attractive.

With this information, we find it concerning that Southern Copper is trading at a P/E higher than the market. Apparently many investors in the company are way more bullish than analysts indicate and aren't willing to let go of their stock at any price. Only the boldest would assume these prices are sustainable as this level of earnings growth is likely to weigh heavily on the share price eventually.

The Final Word

We'd say the price-to-earnings ratio's power isn't primarily as a valuation instrument but rather to gauge current investor sentiment and future expectations.

Our examination of Southern Copper's analyst forecasts revealed that its inferior earnings outlook isn't impacting its high P/E anywhere near 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 high P/E lower. This places shareholders' investments at significant risk and potential investors in danger of paying an excessive premium.

Don't forget that there may be other risks. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Southern Copper (1 can't be ignored) you should be aware of.

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