Its shares, at around $8.60, are up nearly 11% for the past 52 weeks. The stock is on Wall Street's radar of potential top performers in 2016.
But if you look more closely you will find little, if any, real value.
Callaway stock has a consensus buy rating and its average analyst 12-month price target of $12 implies some 40% gains from current levels of around $8. However, the stock is not cheap. It carries a price to earnings multiple of almost 200, or nine times the P/E of 21 for the S&P 500 (SPX) index.
In addition, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company is expected to post of 36-cent loss when it reports fourth-quarter earnings results after the closing bell Thursday.
The expected loss for the quarter comes even as revenue is projected to climb by 10.3%, suggesting Callaway struggles to turn revenue into profits. For the full year, earnings are projected to decline 30% to 14 cents a share, while full-year revenue of $839 million would mark a decline of 5.4% from the year-ago quarter.
The company has done many things right, including delivering 4 cents per share in profit for the third quarter against expectations for a 4-cent loss.
But the easy money has already been made, and new investors should consider what the current P/E and the huge earnings growth expectations imply. Even if Callaway logged its sixth straight earnings beat Thursday, it would need to demolish expectations and deliver upbeat guidance to prevent a selloff in the stock. Given the current weakness in the golf industry, that may be too much to achieve.
In that vein, Calloway stock has less implied value, based on the fiscal 2016 consensus of 34 cents a share, which puts its forward P/E at 25 -- eight points higher than the S&P 500 index. Callaway's third-quarter operating margin of 2% is three percentage points lower than the industry average, according to data compiled by Yahoo! Finance.
It's tough to forecast strong profits in 2016 when revenue is projected to climb by only 5.4%. That makes Callaway a risky investment. If you want to buy, wait for the stock to get to around $7 before you take a swing at it.