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Investors Appear Satisfied With Australian Ethical Investment Ltd.'s (ASX:AEF) Prospects As Shares Rocket 25%

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Australian Ethical Investment Ltd. (ASX:AEF) shareholders would be excited to see that the share price has had a great month, posting a 25% gain and recovering from prior weakness. Looking back a bit further, it's encouraging to see the stock is up 42% in the last year.

After such a large jump in price, Australian Ethical Investment may be sending very bearish signals at the moment with a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 60.1x, since almost half of all companies in Australia have P/E ratios under 22x and even P/E's lower than 12x are not unusual. However, the P/E might be quite high for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.

With earnings growth that's exceedingly strong of late, Australian Ethical Investment has been doing very well. It seems that many are expecting the strong earnings performance to beat most other companies over the coming period, which has increased investors’ willingness to pay up for the stock. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.

Check out our latest analysis for Australian Ethical Investment

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We don't have analyst forecasts, but you can see how recent trends are setting up the company for the future by checking out our free report on Australian Ethical Investment's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Is There Enough Growth For Australian Ethical Investment?

Australian Ethical Investment's P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's expected to deliver very strong growth, and importantly, perform much better than the market.

Retrospectively, the last year delivered an exceptional 42% gain to the company's bottom line. Pleasingly, EPS has also lifted 219% in aggregate from three years ago, thanks to the last 12 months of growth. So we can start by confirming that the company has done a great job of growing earnings over that time.

Comparing that to the market, which is only predicted to deliver 29% growth in the next 12 months, the company's momentum is stronger based on recent medium-term annualised earnings results.

With this information, we can see why Australian Ethical Investment is trading at such a high P/E compared to the market. Presumably shareholders aren't keen to offload something they believe will continue to outmanoeuvre the bourse.

What We Can Learn From Australian Ethical Investment's P/E?

Shares in Australian Ethical Investment have built up some good momentum lately, which has really inflated its P/E. Typically, we'd caution against reading too much into price-to-earnings ratios when settling on investment decisions, though it can reveal plenty about what other market participants think about the company.

We've established that Australian Ethical Investment maintains its high P/E on the strength of its recent three-year growth being higher than the wider market forecast, as expected. Right now shareholders are comfortable with the P/E as they are quite confident earnings aren't under threat. If recent medium-term earnings trends continue, it's hard to see the share price falling strongly in the near future under these circumstances.

Many other vital risk factors can be found on the company's balance sheet. Our free balance sheet analysis for Australian Ethical Investment with six simple checks will allow you to discover any risks that could be an issue.

If P/E ratios interest you, you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly and trade on P/E's below 20x.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.

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