Sixt Leasing (ETR:LNSX) shares have continued recent momentum with a 42% gain in the last month alone. And the full year gain of 32% isn't too shabby, either!
All else being equal, a sharp share price increase should make a stock less 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. The implication here is that deep value investors might steer clear when expectations of a company are too high. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock 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.
Does Sixt Leasing Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 18.20 that there is some investor optimism about Sixt Leasing. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (11.0) for companies in the transportation industry is lower than Sixt Leasing's P/E.
That means that the market expects Sixt Leasing 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
Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the 'E' in the equation. 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.
Sixt Leasing saw earnings per share decrease by 14% last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 5.1% per year over the last five years. This growth rate might warrant a below average P/E ratio.
Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits
Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.
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.
Is Debt Impacting Sixt Leasing's P/E?
Net debt totals a substantial 250% of Sixt Leasing's market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you must keep in mind that these debt levels would usually warrant a relatively low P/E.
The Bottom Line On Sixt Leasing's P/E Ratio
Sixt Leasing has a P/E of 18.2. That's below the average in the DE market, which is 20.7. When you consider that the company has significant debt, and didn't grow EPS last year, it isn't surprising that the market has muted expectations. What we know for sure is that investors have become much more excited about Sixt Leasing recently, since they have pushed its P/E ratio from 12.8 to 18.2 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. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Sixt Leasing. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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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