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Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Marine Products (NYSE:MPX) share price has dived 37% in the last thirty days. Indeed the recent decline has arguably caused some bitterness for shareholders who have held through the 37% drop over twelve months.
Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more 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 long term investors have an opportunity when expectations of a company are too low. Perhaps the simplest way to get a read on investors' expectations of a business is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). Investors have optimistic expectations of companies with higher P/E ratios, compared to companies with lower P/E ratios.
Does Marine Products Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 10.24 that sentiment around Marine Products isn't particularly high. If you look at the image below, you can see Marine Products has a lower P/E than the average (12.9) in the leisure industry classification.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Marine Products shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.
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. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
Marine Products's earnings per share were pretty steady over the last year. But EPS is up 28% over the last 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. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.
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 Marine Products's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
The extra options and safety that comes with Marine Products's US$20m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.
The Verdict On Marine Products's P/E Ratio
Marine Products's P/E is 10.2 which is below average (12.6) in the US market. EPS was up modestly better over the last twelve months. And the net cash position gives the company many options. So it's strange that the low P/E indicates low expectations. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become significantly less optimistic about Marine Products over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 16.4 back then to 10.2 today. For those who don't like to trade against momentum, that could be a warning sign, but a contrarian investor might want to take a closer look.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.
But note: Marine Products 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).
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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