The Bio-Techne (NASDAQ:TECH) share price has done well in the last month, posting a gain of 32%. The full year gain of 35% is pretty reasonable, too.
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 Bio-Techne Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 54.35 that there is some investor optimism about Bio-Techne. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (35.3) for companies in the life sciences industry is lower than Bio-Techne's P/E.
Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Bio-Techne shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.
Bio-Techne's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 53% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 35% annually, over the last three years. So we'd absolutely expect it to have a relatively high 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. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.
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).
How Does Bio-Techne's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
Bio-Techne has net debt worth just 1.7% of its market capitalization. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.
The Verdict On Bio-Techne's P/E Ratio
With a P/E ratio of 54.3, Bio-Techne is expected to grow earnings very strongly in the years to come. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and its recent EPS growth is nothing short of stand-out. So on this analysis a high P/E ratio seems reasonable. What we know for sure is that investors have become much more excited about Bio-Techne recently, since they have pushed its P/E ratio from 41.2 to 54.3 over the last month. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might mean it's time to put the stock on a watchlist, or research it. But the contrarian may see it as a missed opportunity.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
But note: Bio-Techne 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).
Love or hate this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email 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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.