The Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE:RLGY) share price has fared very poorly over the last month, falling by a substantial 31%. The drop over the last 30 days has capped off a tough year for shareholders, with the share price down 37% in that time.
Since its price has dipped substantially, Realogy Holdings may be sending very bullish signals at the moment with its price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 3.9x, since almost half of all companies in the United States have P/E ratios greater than 17x and even P/E's higher than 34x are not unusual. However, the P/E might be quite low for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.
Realogy Holdings certainly has been doing a good job lately as it's been growing earnings more than most other companies. One possibility is that the P/E is low because investors think this strong earnings performance might be less impressive moving forward. If not, then existing shareholders have reason to be quite optimistic about the future direction of the share price.
If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on Realogy Holdings.
How Is Realogy Holdings' Growth Trending?
There's an inherent assumption that a company should far underperform the market for P/E ratios like Realogy Holdings' to be considered reasonable.
Taking a look back first, we see that the company grew earnings per share by an impressive 144% last year. The strong recent performance means it was also able to grow EPS by 170% in total over the last three years. Therefore, it's fair to say the earnings growth recently has been superb for the company.
Turning to the outlook, the next three years should bring diminished returns, with earnings decreasing 0.6% each year as estimated by the three analysts watching the company. Meanwhile, the broader market is forecast to expand by 12% each year, which paints a poor picture.
In light of this, it's understandable that Realogy Holdings' P/E would sit below the majority of other companies. Nonetheless, there's no guarantee the P/E has reached a floor yet with earnings going in reverse. There's potential for the P/E to fall to even lower levels if the company doesn't improve its profitability.
The Key Takeaway
Shares in Realogy Holdings have plummeted and its P/E is now low enough to touch the ground. 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 Realogy Holdings maintains its low P/E on the weakness of its forecast for sliding earnings, as expected. Right now shareholders are accepting the low P/E as they concede future earnings probably won't provide any pleasant surprises. Unless these conditions improve, they will continue to form a barrier for the share price around these levels.
And what about other risks? Every company has them, and we've spotted 4 warning signs for Realogy Holdings (of which 2 are concerning!) you should know about.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with a strong growth track record, trading on a P/E below 20x.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.