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Do You Know What IF Bancorp, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:IROQ) P/E Ratio Means?

Simply Wall St

IF Bancorp (NASDAQ:IROQ) shares have given back plenty of recent gains in the last month, dropping . Indeed, the recent drop has reduced the annual gain to a relatively sedate 3.2% over the last twelve months.

Assuming no other changes, a sharply higher share price makes a stock less attractive to potential buyers. 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). A high P/E ratio means that investors have a high expectation about future growth, while a low P/E ratio means they have low expectations about future growth.

View our latest analysis for IF Bancorp

How Does IF Bancorp's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

IF Bancorp's P/E of 20.28 indicates some degree of optimism towards the stock. The image below shows that IF Bancorp has a higher P/E than the average (14.3) P/E for companies in the mortgage industry.

NasdaqCM:IROQ Price Estimation Relative to Market, December 7th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that IF Bancorp 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

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

In the last year, IF Bancorp grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 136% gain was both fast and well deserved.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. 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.

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.

So What Does IF Bancorp's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt is 32% of IF Bancorp's market cap. While it's worth keeping this in mind, it isn't a worry.

The Bottom Line On IF Bancorp's P/E Ratio

IF Bancorp's P/E is 20.3 which is above average (18.5) in its market. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is superb. So to be frank we are not surprised it has a high P/E ratio. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become less optimistic about IF Bancorp over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 20.3 back then to 20.3 today. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for a contrarian, it may signal opportunity.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

You might be able to find a better buy than IF Bancorp. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.