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Here's How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand China Parenting Network Holdings Limited (HKG:1736)

Simply Wall St

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll look at China Parenting Network Holdings Limited's (HKG:1736) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Based on the last twelve months, China Parenting Network Holdings's P/E ratio is 7.92. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 13%.

Check out our latest analysis for China Parenting Network Holdings

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price (in reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for China Parenting Network Holdings:

P/E of 7.92 = CN¥0.23 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, CNY ) ÷ CN¥0.029 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

Does China Parenting Network Holdings Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see China Parenting Network Holdings has a lower P/E than the average (12.5) in the interactive media and services industry classification.

SEHK:1736 Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 26th 2019

This suggests that market participants think China Parenting Network Holdings will underperform other companies in its industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, 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. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others -- and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

China Parenting Network Holdings's earnings per share fell by 13% in the last twelve months. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 8.2% per year over the last three years. This could justify a low P/E.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. 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 China Parenting Network Holdings's P/E?

China Parenting Network Holdings has net cash of CN¥75m. This is fairly high at 30% 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 China Parenting Network Holdings's P/E Ratio

China Parenting Network Holdings has a P/E of 7.9. That's below the average in the HK market, which is 10.7. The recent drop in earnings per share would almost certainly temper expectations, the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If that occurs, the current low P/E could prove to be temporary.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. Although we don't have analyst forecasts, you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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.

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.