Nila Infrastructures (NSE:NILAINFRA) shareholders are no doubt pleased to see that the share price has had a great month, posting a 32% gain, recovering from prior weakness. But shareholders may not all be feeling jubilant, since the share price is still down 36% in the last year.
All else being equal, a sharp share price increase should make a stock less attractive to potential investors. 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. So some would prefer to hold off buying when there is a lot of optimism towards a stock. 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.
Does Nila Infrastructures Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 10.67 that sentiment around Nila Infrastructures isn't particularly high. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (12.4) for companies in the construction industry is higher than Nila Infrastructures's P/E.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Nila Infrastructures 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. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
Nila Infrastructures saw earnings per share decrease by 3.5% last year. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 4.7%.
Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits
One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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 Nila Infrastructures's P/E?
Nila Infrastructures has net debt worth 56% of its market capitalization. This is enough debt that you'd have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.
The Verdict On Nila Infrastructures's P/E Ratio
Nila Infrastructures trades on a P/E ratio of 10.7, which is below the IN market average of 13.3. The P/E reflects market pessimism that probably arises from the lack of recent EPS growth, paired with significant leverage. What we know for sure is that investors have become more excited about Nila Infrastructures recently, since they have pushed its P/E ratio from 8.1 to 10.7 over the last month. If you like to buy stocks that have recently impressed the market, then this one might be a candidate; but if you prefer to invest when there is 'blood in the streets', then you may feel the opportunity has passed.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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.
But note: Nila Infrastructures 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.