Unfortunately for some shareholders, the OGE Energy (NYSE:OGE) share price has dived 30% in the last thirty days. Indeed the recent decline has arguably caused some bitterness for shareholders who have held through the 38% drop over twelve months.
All else being equal, a share price drop should make a stock more attractive to potential investors. While the market sentiment towards a stock is very changeable, in the long run, the share price will tend to move in the same direction as earnings per share. So, on certain occasions, long term focussed investors try to take advantage of pessimistic expectations to buy shares at a better price. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). A high P/E implies that investors have high expectations of what a company can achieve compared to a company with a low P/E ratio.
Does OGE Energy Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
OGE Energy's P/E of 12.27 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. If you look at the image below, you can see OGE Energy has a lower P/E than the average (18.6) in the electric utilities industry classification.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that OGE Energy shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. 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
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.
OGE Energy's earnings per share were pretty steady over the last year. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 1.7%.
Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits
It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.
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.
OGE Energy's Balance Sheet
Net debt totals 62% of OGE Energy's market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you should absolutely keep in mind it has significant borrowings.
The Verdict On OGE Energy's P/E Ratio
OGE Energy has a P/E of 12.3. That's around the same as the average in the US market, which is 12.2. With meaningful debt and only modest earnings growth, the market seems to be expecting a steady performance going forward. Given OGE Energy's P/E ratio has declined from 17.4 to 12.3 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is significantly less confident about the business today, than it was back then. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for a contrarian, it may signal opportunity.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
But note: OGE Energy 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 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.
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