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Don't Sell CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (HKG:1) Before You Read This

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to CK Hutchison Holdings Limited's (HKG:1), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. CK Hutchison Holdings has a price to earnings ratio of 7.61, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 13%.

View our latest analysis for CK Hutchison Holdings

How Do You Calculate CK Hutchison Holdings's P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for CK Hutchison Holdings:

P/E of 7.61 = HK$76.95 ÷ HK$10.11 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That isn't a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business's prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

Does CK Hutchison Holdings Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (6.9) for companies in the industrials industry is lower than CK Hutchison Holdings's P/E.

SEHK:1 Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 17th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that CK Hutchison Holdings shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

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. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

CK Hutchison Holdings increased earnings per share by an impressive 11% over the last twelve months. But earnings per share are down 7.9% per year over the last five years.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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).

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.

How Does CK Hutchison Holdings's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 74% of CK Hutchison Holdings's market cap. This is enough debt that you'd have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Verdict On CK Hutchison Holdings's P/E Ratio

CK Hutchison Holdings has a P/E of 7.6. That's below the average in the HK market, which is 10.8. While the EPS growth last year was strong, the significant debt levels reduce the number of options available to management. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. 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 CK Hutchison Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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. Thank you for reading.