The Stratec (ETR:SBS) share price has done well in the last month, posting a gain of 39%. And the full year gain of 37% isn't too shabby, either!
All else being equal, a sharp share price increase should make a stock less attractive to potential investors. 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). 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). 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.
How Does Stratec's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 66.19 that there is some investor optimism about Stratec. The image below shows that Stratec has a higher P/E than the average (48.6) P/E for companies in the medical equipment industry.
Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Stratec shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. 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
When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.
Notably, Stratec grew EPS by a whopping 44% in the last year. In contrast, EPS has decreased by 4.4%, annually, over 5 years.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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.
How Does Stratec's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
Net debt totals just 5.7% of Stratec's market cap. So it doesn't have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.
The Verdict On Stratec's P/E Ratio
Stratec's P/E is 66.2 which suggests the market is more focussed on the future opportunity rather than the current level of earnings. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is superb. So on this analysis a high P/E ratio seems reasonable. What is very clear is that the market has become significantly more optimistic about Stratec over the last month, with the P/E ratio rising from 47.7 back then to 66.2 today. If you like to buy stocks that have recently impressed the market, then this one might be a candidate; but if you prefer to invest when there is 'blood in the streets', then you may feel the opportunity has passed.
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. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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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