Getting In Cheap On Crane Company (NYSE:CR) Might Be Difficult

Simply Wall St · 07/01 10:16

Crane Company's (NYSE:CR) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 39x might make it look like a strong sell right now compared to the market in the United States, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios below 16x and even P/E's below 9x are quite common. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly elevated P/E.

With its earnings growth in positive territory compared to the declining earnings of most other companies, Crane 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.

See our latest analysis for Crane

pe-multiple-vs-industry
NYSE:CR Price to Earnings Ratio vs Industry July 1st 2024
If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on Crane.

Is There Enough Growth For Crane?

The only time you'd be truly comfortable seeing a P/E as steep as Crane's is when the company's growth is on track to outshine the market decidedly.

Retrospectively, the last year delivered an exceptional 16% gain to the company's bottom line. Although, its longer-term performance hasn't been as strong with three-year EPS growth being relatively non-existent overall. Therefore, it's fair to say that earnings growth has been inconsistent recently for the company.

Turning to the outlook, the next three years should generate growth of 22% each year as estimated by the eight analysts watching the company. With the market only predicted to deliver 10% per year, the company is positioned for a stronger earnings result.

In light of this, it's understandable that Crane'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 Bottom Line On Crane's P/E

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 Crane'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.

Many other vital risk factors can be found on the company's balance sheet. Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis for Crane with six simple checks on some of these key factors.

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