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Matador Resources (NYSE:MTDR) shareholders are no doubt pleased to see that the share price has bounced 91% in the last month alone, although it is still down 71% over the last quarter. However, that doesn't change the fact that longer term shareholders might have been mercilessly wrecked by the 77% share price decline throughout the year.
Assuming no other changes, a sharply higher share price makes a stock less attractive to potential buyers. In the long term, share prices tend to follow earnings per share, but in the short term prices bounce around in response to short term factors (which are not always obvious). The implication here is that deep value investors might steer clear when expectations of a company are too high. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock 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.
How Does Matador Resources's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 5.95 that sentiment around Matador Resources isn't particularly high. If you look at the image below, you can see Matador Resources has a lower P/E than the average (8.6) in the oil and gas industry classification.
This suggests that market participants think Matador Resources 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
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
Matador Resources saw earnings per share decrease by 69% last year. And over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have decreased 14% annually. This could justify a pessimistic P/E.
Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits
It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.
While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.
How Does Matador Resources's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
Matador Resources's net debt is considerable, at 295% of its market cap. This level of debt justifies a relatively low P/E, so remain cognizant of the debt, if you're comparing it to other stocks.
The Bottom Line On Matador Resources's P/E Ratio
Matador Resources trades on a P/E ratio of 5.9, which is below the US market average of 14.0. Given meaningful debt, and a lack of recent growth, the market looks to be extrapolating this recent performance; reflecting low expectations for the future. What is very clear is that the market has become less pessimistic about Matador Resources over the last month, with the P/E ratio rising from 3.1 back then to 5.9 today. For those who like to invest in turnarounds, that might mean it's time to put the stock on a watchlist, or research it. But others might consider the opportunity to have 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.
You might be able to find a better buy than Matador Resources. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).
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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