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Here's How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand International Housewares Retail Company Limited (HKG:1373)

Simply Wall St

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to International Housewares Retail Company Limited's (HKG:1373), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. What is International Housewares Retail's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 11.08. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying HK$11.08 for every HK$1 in prior year profit.

Check out our latest analysis for International Housewares Retail

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for International Housewares Retail:

P/E of 11.08 = HK$1.84 ÷ HK$0.17 (Based on the trailing twelve months to April 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each HK$1 the company has earned over the last year. That isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Does International Housewares Retail's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (11.3) for companies in the specialty retail industry is roughly the same as International Housewares Retail's P/E.

SEHK:1373 Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 24th 2019

International Housewares Retail's P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

It's great to see that International Housewares Retail grew EPS by 14% in the last year. And it has improved its earnings per share by 22% per year over the last three years. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio. Unfortunately, earnings per share are down 5.7% a year, 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. 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).

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.

International Housewares Retail's Balance Sheet

With net cash of HK$394m, International Housewares Retail has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 30% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Verdict On International Housewares Retail's P/E Ratio

International Housewares Retail's P/E is 11.1 which is about average (10.3) in the HK market. The balance sheet is healthy, and recent EPS growth impressive, but the P/E implies some caution from the market.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. We don't have analyst forecasts, but shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: International Housewares Retail 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).

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.