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A Rising Share Price Has Us Looking Closely At KION GROUP AG's (ETR:KGX) P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

The KION GROUP (ETR:KGX) share price has done well in the last month, posting a gain of 31%. And the full year gain of 12% isn't too shabby, either!

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. The implication here is that deep value investors might steer clear when expectations of a company are too high. 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). 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 KION GROUP

Does KION GROUP Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

KION GROUP's P/E is 14.42. As you can see below KION GROUP has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the machinery industry, which is 13.9.

XTRA:KGX Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 2nd 2019

That indicates that the market expects KION GROUP will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.

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. 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.

It's great to see that KION GROUP grew EPS by 11% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 19% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, you might expect an above average P/E ratio.

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

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

KION GROUP's Balance Sheet

KION GROUP has net debt equal to 35% of its market cap. You'd want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn't bother us.

The Verdict On KION GROUP's P/E Ratio

KION GROUP's P/E is 14.4 which is below average (19.3) in the DE market. The company hasn't stretched its balance sheet, and earnings growth was good last year. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low. What is very clear is that the market has become more optimistic about KION GROUP over the last month, with the P/E ratio rising from 11.0 back then to 14.4 today. 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 it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.