Marine Petroleum Trust (NASDAQ:MARP.S) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 10.1x, which is lower than the industry average of 20.8x. Although some investors may jump to the conclusion that this is a great buying opportunity, understanding the assumptions behind the P/E ratio might change your mind. Today, I will explain what the P/E ratio is as well as what you should look out for when using it. See our latest analysis for MARP.S
Demystifying the P/E ratio
P/E is often used for relative valuation since earnings power is a chief driver of investment value. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.
P/E Calculation for MARP.S
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
MARP.S Price-Earnings Ratio = 3.79 ÷ 0.376 = 10.1x
The P/E ratio itself doesn’t tell you a lot; however, it becomes very insightful when you compare it with other similar companies. We preferably want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar features to MARP.S, such as capital structure and profitability. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. MARP.S’s P/E of 10.1x is lower than its industry peers (20.8x), which implies that each dollar of MARP.S’s earnings is being undervalued by investors. Therefore, according to this analysis, MARP.S is an under-priced stock.
Assumptions to watch out for
However, before you rush out to buy MARP.S, it is important to note that this conclusion is based on two key assumptions. Firstly, our peer group contains companies that are similar to MARP.S. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, if you compared lower risk firms with MARP.S, then investors would naturally value it at a lower price since it is a riskier investment. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing MARP.S to are fairly valued by the market. If this does not hold, there is a possibility that MARP.S’s P/E is lower because our peer group is overvalued by the market.
What this means for you:
Are you a shareholder? If your personal research into the stock confirms what the P/E ratio is telling you, it might be a good time to add more of MARP.S to your portfolio. But keep in mind that the usefulness of relative valuation depends on whether you are comfortable with making the assumptions I mentioned above.
Are you a potential investor? If you are considering investing in MARP.S, basing your decision on the PE metric at one point in time is certainly not sufficient. I recommend you do additional analysis by looking at its intrinsic valuation and using other relative valuation ratios like PEG or EV/EBITDA.
PE is one aspect of your portfolio construction to consider when holding or entering into a stock. But it is certainly not the only factor. Take a look at our most recent infographic report on Marine Petroleum Trust for a more in-depth analysis of the stock to help you make a well-informed investment decision. Since we know a limitation of PE is it doesn’t properly account for growth, you can use our free platform to see my list of stocks with a high growth potential and see if their PE is still reasonable.
To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.