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Is Now The Time To Look At Buying Whitbread plc (LON:WTB)?

Whitbread plc (LON:WTB), is not the largest company out there, but it saw a double-digit share price rise of over 10% in the past couple of months on the LSE. With many analysts covering the mid-cap stock, we may expect any price-sensitive announcements have already been factored into the stock’s share price. However, what if the stock is still a bargain? Let’s take a look at Whitbread’s outlook and value based on the most recent financial data to see if the opportunity still exists.

See our latest analysis for Whitbread

What's The Opportunity In Whitbread?

Whitbread is currently expensive based on my price multiple model, where I look at the company's price-to-earnings ratio in comparison to the industry average. I’ve used the price-to-earnings ratio in this instance because there’s not enough visibility to forecast its cash flows. The stock’s ratio of 16.5x is currently well-above the industry average of 9.78x, meaning that it is trading at a more expensive price relative to its peers. But, is there another opportunity to buy low in the future? Since Whitbread’s share price is quite volatile, this could mean it can sink lower (or rise even further) in the future, giving us another chance to invest. This is based on its high beta, which is a good indicator for how much the stock moves relative to the rest of the market.

What does the future of Whitbread look like?

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Investors looking for growth in their portfolio may want to consider the prospects of a company before buying its shares. 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. Whitbread's earnings over the next few years are expected to increase by 21%, indicating a highly optimistic future ahead. This should lead to more robust cash flows, feeding into a higher share value.

What This Means For You

Are you a shareholder? It seems like the market has well and truly priced in WTB’s positive outlook, with shares trading above industry price multiples. However, this brings up another question – is now the right time to sell? If you believe WTB 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 an eye on WTB for a while, 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 WTB, which means it’s worth diving deeper into other factors in order to take advantage of the next price drop.

So while earnings quality is important, it's equally important to consider the risks facing Whitbread at this point in time. At Simply Wall St, we found 1 warning sign for Whitbread and we think they deserve your attention.

If you are no longer interested in Whitbread, you can use our free platform to see our list of over 50 other stocks with a high growth potential.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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