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Read This Before You Buy ZK International Group Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ:ZKIN) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

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Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. To keep it practical, we'll show how ZK International Group Co., Ltd.'s (NASDAQ:ZKIN) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is ZK International Group's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 2.57. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 39%.

Check out our latest analysis for ZK International Group

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for ZK International Group:

P/E of 2.57 = $1.33 ÷ $0.52 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. 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.

Does ZK International Group Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. If you look at the image below, you can see ZK International Group has a lower P/E than the average (10.8) in the metals and mining industry classification.

NasdaqCM:ZKIN Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 18th 2019

This suggests that market participants think ZK International Group will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. 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

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the 'E' in the equation. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

ZK International Group saw earnings per share decrease by 3.7% last year. And EPS is down 1.5% a year, over the last 5 years. So we might expect a relatively low P/E.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on 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 ZK International Group's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

ZK International Group's net debt is 66% of its market cap. This is a reasonably significant level of debt -- all else being equal you'd expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.

The Bottom Line On ZK International Group's P/E Ratio

ZK International Group's P/E is 2.6 which is below average (17.9) in the US market. Given meaningful debt, and a lack of recent growth, the market looks to be extrapolating this recent performance; reflecting low expectations for the future.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: ZK International Group 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.