LONDON -- It's always worth keeping an eye on the earnings forecasts for your favorite companies, especially if you use forward P/E ratios to gauge when to buy and sell your shares.
You never know, if City brokers have been revising their projections of late, your investments may not be as cheap -- or expensive -- as you may think!
Today I'm looking at the earnings per share (EPS) forecasts for Barclays
The consensus for 2012 is for earnings per share of 35 pence, which puts the 235 pence shares on a lowly forward P/E of 6.
The estimates suggest earnings may rise to 37 pence per share for 2013 and climb to 41 pence for 2014. Earnings may then stagnate at 40 pence for 2015, at least according to City analysts.
The data from S&P Capital IQ also indicates Barclays' revenues may stall around the 30 billion-pound mark and EBITDA hover at about 10 billion-pound mark during the next few years.
All told, the forecasts aren't great, with earnings essentially predicted to go nowhere between 2012 and 2016. But then again, that P/E of 6 looks like the market is already expecting earnings won't advance anytime soon.
Whether these projections make Barclays a buy, a hold or a sell is of course up to you. To put the company's multiple into perspective, the FTSE 100 at 5,783 trades on a P/E of 11.4.
If Barclays isn't your bag, there are plenty of great stocks out there. Some of them are listed in our special in-depth Motley Fool report, "Eight Top Blue Chips Held by Britain's Super Investor."