To the annoyance of some shareholders, Flying Financial Service Holdings (HKG:8030) shares are down a considerable 31% in the last month. That drop has capped off a tough year for shareholders, with the share price down 48% in that time.
All else being equal, a share price drop should make a stock more attractive to potential investors. 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). The implication here is that long term investors have an opportunity when expectations of a company are too low. 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). Investors have optimistic expectations of companies with higher P/E ratios, compared to companies with lower P/E ratios.
How Does Flying Financial Service Holdings's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 6.00 that sentiment around Flying Financial Service Holdings isn't particularly high. If you look at the image below, you can see Flying Financial Service Holdings has a lower P/E than the average (6.7) in the consumer finance industry classification.
Flying Financial Service Holdings's P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Flying Financial Service Holdings, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.
Flying Financial Service Holdings shrunk earnings per share by 38% over the last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 11% per year over the last three years. This growth rate might warrant a low P/E ratio.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).
While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.
So What Does Flying Financial Service Holdings's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Flying Financial Service Holdings's net debt is 18% of its market cap. That's enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you're comparing it to companies without debt.
The Bottom Line On Flying Financial Service Holdings's P/E Ratio
Flying Financial Service Holdings's P/E is 6.0 which is below average (10.4) in the HK 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 Flying Financial Service Holdings over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 8.7 back then to 6.0 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 it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. Although we don't have analyst forecasts you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Flying Financial Service Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.