Why We're Not Concerned About CDW Corporation's (NASDAQ:CDW) Share Price

Simply Wall St · 03/25 10:57

With a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 31.1x CDW Corporation (NASDAQ:CDW) may be sending very 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. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly elevated P/E.

CDW's negative earnings growth of late has neither been better nor worse than most other companies. One possibility is that the P/E is high because investors think the company can turn things around and break free from the broader downward trend in earnings. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.

Check out our latest analysis for CDW

NasdaqGS:CDW Price to Earnings Ratio vs Industry March 25th 2024
Keen to find out how analysts think CDW's future stacks up against the industry? In that case, our free report is a great place to start.

How Is CDW's Growth Trending?

CDW'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.

Taking a look back first, we see that there was hardly any earnings per share growth to speak of for the company over the past year. However, a few strong years before that means that it was still able to grow EPS by an impressive 49% in total over the last three years. Therefore, it's fair to say the earnings growth recently has been superb for the company.

Shifting to the future, estimates from the eleven analysts covering the company suggest earnings should grow by 13% per annum over the next three years. With the market only predicted to deliver 10% each year, the company is positioned for a stronger earnings result.

In light of this, it's understandable that CDW's P/E sits above the majority of other companies. Apparently shareholders aren't keen to offload something that is potentially eyeing a more prosperous future.

The Key Takeaway

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.

As we suspected, our examination of CDW's analyst forecasts revealed that its superior earnings outlook is contributing to its high P/E. Right now shareholders are comfortable with the P/E as they are quite confident future earnings aren't under threat. It's hard to see the share price falling strongly in the near future under these circumstances.

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

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