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Let's talk about the popular West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE:WST). The company's shares saw a decent share price growth in the teens level on the NYSE over the last few months. As a large-cap stock with high coverage by analysts, you could assume any recent changes in the company’s outlook is already priced into the stock. However, what if the stock is still a bargain? Today I will analyse the most recent data on West Pharmaceutical Services’s outlook and valuation to see if the opportunity still exists.
Is West Pharmaceutical Services still cheap?
According to my price multiple model, where I compare the company's price-to-earnings ratio to the industry average, the stock currently looks expensive. In this instance, I’ve used the price-to-earnings (PE) ratio given that there is not enough information to reliably forecast the stock’s cash flows. I find that West Pharmaceutical Services’s ratio of 59.89x is above its peer average of 49.87x, which suggests the stock is trading at a higher price compared to the Medical Equipment industry. But, is there another opportunity to buy low in the future? Given that West Pharmaceutical Services’s share is fairly volatile (i.e. its price movements are magnified relative to the rest of the market) this could mean the price can sink lower, giving us another chance to buy in the future. This is based on its high beta, which is a good indicator for share price volatility.
What kind of growth will West Pharmaceutical Services generate?
Future outlook is an important aspect when you’re looking at buying a stock, especially if you are an investor looking for growth in your portfolio. Although value investors would argue that it’s the intrinsic value relative to the price that matter the most, a more compelling investment thesis would be high growth potential at a cheap price. With profit expected to grow by 26% over the next couple of years, the future seems bright for West Pharmaceutical Services. It looks like higher cash flow is on the cards for the stock, which should feed into a higher share valuation.
What this means for you:
Are you a shareholder? It seems like the market has well and truly priced in WST’s positive outlook, with shares trading above industry price multiples. At this current price, shareholders may be asking a different question – should I sell? If you believe WST should trade below its current price, selling high and buying it back up again when its price falls towards the industry PE ratio can be profitable. But before you make this decision, take a look at whether its fundamentals have changed.
Are you a potential investor? If you’ve been keeping tabs on WST for some time, now may not be the best time to enter into the stock. The price has surpassed its industry peers, which means it is likely that there is no more upside from mispricing. However, the positive outlook is encouraging for WST, which means it’s worth diving deeper into other factors in order to take advantage of the next price drop.
It can be quite valuable to consider what analysts expect for West Pharmaceutical Services from their most recent forecasts. Luckily, you can check out what analysts are forecasting by clicking here.
If you are no longer interested in West Pharmaceutical Services, you can use our free platform to see our list of over 50 other stocks with a high growth potential.
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.
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