To the annoyance of some shareholders, Shentong Robot Education Group (HKG:8206) shares are down a considerable 32% in the last month. Indeed the recent decline has arguably caused some bitterness for shareholders who have held through the 33% drop over twelve months.
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). Investors have optimistic expectations of companies with higher P/E ratios, compared to companies with lower P/E ratios.
How Does Shentong Robot Education Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
Shentong Robot Education Group's P/E of 18.82 indicates some degree of optimism towards the stock. As you can see below, Shentong Robot Education Group has a higher P/E than the average company (14.6) in the consumer services industry.
Shentong Robot Education Group's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. 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
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. 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.
Shentong Robot Education Group shrunk earnings per share by 47% over the last year.
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. 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).
Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).
Is Debt Impacting Shentong Robot Education Group's P/E?
Shentong Robot Education Group has net cash of HK$126m. This is fairly high at 22% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.
The Bottom Line On Shentong Robot Education Group's P/E Ratio
Shentong Robot Education Group has a P/E of 18.8. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 10.1. Falling earnings per share is probably keeping traditional value investors away, but the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. Clearly, the high P/E indicates shareholders think it will! What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become significantly less optimistic about Shentong Robot Education Group over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 27.7 back then to 18.8 today. 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.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
You might be able to find a better buy than Shentong Robot Education Group. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).
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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