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Sentiment Still Eluding Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR)

Charter Communications, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:CHTR) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 11.1x might make it look like a buy right now compared to the market in the United States, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios above 15x and even P/E's above 30x are quite common. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the reduced P/E.

Recent times have been advantageous for Charter Communications as its earnings have been rising faster than most other companies. It might be that many expect the strong earnings performance to degrade substantially, which has repressed the P/E. If you like the company, you'd be hoping this isn't the case so that you could potentially pick up some stock while it's out of favour.

See our latest analysis for Charter Communications

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Keen to find out how analysts think Charter Communications' future stacks up against the industry? In that case, our free report is a great place to start.

What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The Low P/E?

Charter Communications' P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's only expected to deliver limited growth, and importantly, perform worse than the market.

Retrospectively, the last year delivered an exceptional 44% gain to the company's bottom line. Pleasingly, EPS has also lifted 529% in aggregate from three years ago, thanks to the last 12 months of growth. So we can start by confirming that the company has done a great job of growing earnings over that time.

Turning to the outlook, the next three years should generate growth of 18% each year as estimated by the analysts watching the company. That's shaping up to be materially higher than the 9.1% each year growth forecast for the broader market.

In light of this, it's peculiar that Charter Communications' P/E sits below the majority of other companies. Apparently some shareholders are doubtful of the forecasts and have been accepting significantly lower selling prices.

What We Can Learn From Charter Communications' P/E?

Typically, we'd caution against reading too much into price-to-earnings ratios when settling on investment decisions, though it can reveal plenty about what other market participants think about the company.

We've established that Charter Communications currently trades on a much lower than expected P/E since its forecast growth is higher than the wider market. When we see a strong earnings outlook with faster-than-market growth, we assume potential risks are what might be placing significant pressure on the P/E ratio. It appears many are indeed anticipating earnings instability, because these conditions should normally provide a boost to the share price.

There are also other vital risk factors to consider before investing and we've discovered 1 warning sign for Charter Communications that you should be aware of.

You might be able to find a better investment than Charter Communications. If you want a selection of possible candidates, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20x (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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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