Pine Care Group (HKG:1989) shares have continued recent momentum with a 35% gain in the last month alone. Looking back a bit further, we're also happy to report the stock is up 65% in the last year.
Assuming no other changes, a sharply higher share price makes a stock less attractive to potential buyers. 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. The implication here is that deep value investors might steer clear when expectations of a company are too high. 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 Pine Care Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 55.71 that there is some investor optimism about Pine Care Group. As you can see below, Pine Care Group has a much higher P/E than the average company (15.2) in the healthcare industry.
That means that the market expects Pine Care Group will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
If earnings fall then in the future the 'E' will be lower. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others -- and that may encourage shareholders to sell.
Pine Care Group shrunk earnings per share by 4.2% last year. And EPS is down 6.3% a year, over the last 3 years. So it would be surprising to see a high P/E.
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. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.
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.
Pine Care Group's Balance Sheet
Pine Care Group has net debt worth 75% of its market capitalization. This is a reasonably significant level of debt -- all else being equal you'd expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.
The Verdict On Pine Care Group's P/E Ratio
Pine Care Group's P/E is 55.7 which suggests the market is more focussed on the future opportunity rather than the current level of earnings. With relatively high debt, and no earnings per share growth over twelve months, it's safe to say the market believes the company will improve its earnings growth in the future. What we know for sure is that investors have become much more excited about Pine Care Group recently, since they have pushed its P/E ratio from 41.1 to 55.7 over the last month. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might mean it's time to put the stock on a watchlist, or research it. But the contrarian may see it as a missed opportunity.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. Although we don't have analyst forecasts shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
But note: Pine Care Group 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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