Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Bathurst Resources (ASX:BRL) share price has dived 57% in the last thirty days. And that drop will have no doubt have some shareholders concerned that the 69% share price decline, over the last year, has turned them into bagholders. What is a bagholder? It is a shareholder who has suffered a bad loss, but continues to hold indefinitely, without questioning their reasons for holding, even as the losses grow greater.
Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more attractive to potential buyers. In the long term, share prices tend to follow earnings per share, but in the short term prices bounce around in response to short term factors (which are not always obvious). So, on certain occasions, long term focussed investors try to take advantage of pessimistic expectations to buy shares at a better price. Perhaps the simplest way to get a read on investors' expectations of a business is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). A high P/E ratio means that investors have a high expectation about future growth, while a low P/E ratio means they have low expectations about future growth.
Does Bathurst Resources Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
Bathurst Resources's P/E of 2.11 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. If you look at the image below, you can see Bathurst Resources has a lower P/E than the average (6.7) in the metals and mining industry classification.
This suggests that market participants think Bathurst Resources will underperform other companies in its industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Bathurst Resources, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
Bathurst Resources's earnings per share fell by 26% in the last twelve months.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.
Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.
So What Does Bathurst Resources's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Net debt totals just 4.2% of Bathurst Resources's market cap. So it doesn't have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.
The Verdict On Bathurst Resources's P/E Ratio
Bathurst Resources's P/E is 2.1 which is below average (11.5) in the AU market. The debt levels are not a major concern, but the lack of EPS growth is likely weighing on sentiment. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become more pessimistic about Bathurst Resources over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 4.9 back then to 2.1 today. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for deep value investors this stock might justify some research.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.
But note: Bathurst Resources may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
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