Why Is T-Mobile US (TMUS) Rated as Buy?

With an average analyst rating of buy, T-Mobile US is clearly an analyst favorite. But the analysts could be wrong. Is TMUS overvalued at today's price of $142.74? Let's take a closer look at the fundamentals to find out.

The most common valuation metric for stocks is the trailing price to earnings (P/E) ratio. T-Mobile US has a P/E ratio of 69.63 based on its 12 month trailing earnings per share of $2.05. Considering its future earnings estimates of $9.6 per share, the stock's forward P/E ratio is 14.87. In comparison, the average P/E ratio of the Technology sector is 27.16 and the average P/E ratio of the S&P 500 is 15.97.

T-Mobile US's P/E ratio tells us how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of the company's earnings. The problem with this metric is that it doesn't take into account the expected growth in earnings of the stock. Sometimes elevated P/E ratios can be justified by equally elevated growth expectations.

We can solve this inconsistency by dividing the company's trailing P/E ratio by its five year earnings growth estimate, which in this case gives us a 0.469 Price to Earnings Growth (PEG) ratio. In TMUS's case, the elevated P/E ratio is justified by future earnings growth estimates -- assuming those estimates turn out to be close to reality.

We can also compare the ratio of T-Mobile US's market price to its book value, which gives us the price to book, or P/B ratio. A company's book value refers to its present liquidation value -- or what would be left if the company sold off all its assets and paid off all of its debts today. TMUS has a P/B ratio of 2.525, with any figure close to or below one indicating a potentially undervalued company.

By most metrics, T-Mobile US is an overvalued stock. So why are analysts giving it such a generous rating? It probably has to do with their perception of its strong growth potential, as represented by its low PEG ratio. For growth-oriented investors, TMUS is represents an interesting opportunity despite its elevated valuation. They just need to be sure that the growth story will come true. We will continue to monitor the stock to see which thesis prevails.

The above analysis is intended for educational purposes only and was performed on the basis of publicly available data. It is not to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Any buy, sell, or other recommendations mentioned in the article are direct quotations of consensus recommendations from the analysts covering the stock, and do not represent the opinions of Market Inference or its writers. Past performance, accounting data, and inferences about market position and corporate valuation are not reliable indicators of future price movements. Market Inference does not provide financial advice. Investors should conduct their own review and analysis of any company of interest before making an investment decision.