Investor Optimism Abounds Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKG:388) But Growth Is Lacking

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When close to half the companies in Hong Kong have price-to-earnings ratios (or “P/E’s”) below 9x, you may consider Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKG:388) as a stock to avoid entirely with its 26.9x P/E ratio. Although, it’s not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it’s so lofty.

With its earnings growth in positive territory compared to the declining earnings of most other companies, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has been doing quite well of late. It seems that many are expecting the company to continue defying the broader market adversity, which has increased investors’ willingness to pay up for the stock. If not, then existing shareholders might be a little nervous about the viability of the share price.

Check out our latest analysis for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing

SEHK:388 Price to Earnings Ratio vs Industry December 18th 2023

Keen to find out how analysts think Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing’s future stacks up against the industry? In that case, our free report is a great place to start.

Does Growth Match The High P/E?

In order to justify its P/E ratio, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing would need to produce outstanding growth well in excess of the market.

If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a terrific increase of 25%. As a result, it also grew EPS by 16% in total over the last three years. Accordingly, shareholders would have probably been satisfied with the medium-term rates of earnings growth.

Shifting to the future, estimates from the analysts covering the company suggest earnings should grow by 12% per year over the next three years. Meanwhile, the rest of the market is forecast to expand by 15% per annum, which is noticeably more attractive.

With this information, we find it concerning that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is trading at a P/E higher than the market. Apparently many investors in the company are way more bullish than analysts indicate and aren’t willing to let go of their stock at any price. There’s a good chance these shareholders are setting themselves up for future disappointment if the P/E falls to levels more in line with the growth outlook.

What We Can Learn From Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing’s P/E?

It’s argued the price-to-earnings ratio is an inferior measure of value within certain industries, but it can be a powerful business sentiment indicator.

We’ve established that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing currently trades on a much higher than expected P/E since its forecast growth is lower than the wider market. Right now we are increasingly uncomfortable with the high P/E as the predicted future earnings aren’t likely to support such positive sentiment for long. Unless these conditions improve markedly, it’s very challenging to accept these prices as being reasonable.

There are also other vital risk factors to consider before investing and we’ve discovered 1 warning sign for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing that you should be aware of.

If P/E ratios interest you, you may wish to see this free collection of other companies with strong earnings growth and low P/E ratios.

Valuation is complex, but we’re helping make it simple.

Find out whether Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

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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