This article is intended for those of you who are at the beginning of your investing journey and want to start learning about core concepts of fundamental analysis on practical examples from today’s market.
Genesis Land Development Corp (TSE:GDC) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 12.3x, which is lower than the industry average of 15.7x. Although some investors may jump to the conclusion that this is a great buying opportunity, understanding the assumptions behind the P/E ratio might change your mind. In this article, I will break down what the P/E ratio is, how to interpret it and what to watch out for.
What you need to know about the P/E ratio
P/E is often used for relative valuation since earnings power is a chief driver of investment value. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.
P/E Calculation for GDC
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
GDC Price-Earnings Ratio = CA$3.8 ÷ CA$0.308 = 12.3x
On its own, the P/E ratio doesn’t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful when you compare it with other similar companies. We preferably want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar features to GDC, such as capital structure and profitability. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. GDC’s P/E of 12.3 is lower than its industry peers (15.7), which implies that each dollar of GDC’s earnings is being undervalued by investors. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 21 Real Estate companies in CA including Regent Pacific Properties, Mainstreet Equity and Urbanfund. One could put it like this: the market is pricing GDC as if it is a weaker company than the average company in its industry.
Assumptions to watch out for
However, it is important to note that this conclusion is based on two key assumptions. The first is that our “similar companies” are actually similar to GDC, or else the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. For example, if you compared higher growth firms with GDC, then its P/E would naturally be lower since investors would reward its peers’ higher growth with a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing GDC to are fairly valued by the market. If this is violated, GDC’s P/E may be lower than its peers as they are actually overvalued by investors.
What this means for you:
You may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock as a shareholder, so its current undervaluation could signal a good buying opportunity to increase your exposure to GDC. Now that you understand the ins and outs of the PE metric, you should know to bear in mind its limitations before you make an investment decision. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for GDC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for GDC’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has GDC been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of GDC’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at email@example.com.