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A Rising Share Price Has Us Looking Closely At Taylor Devices, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:TAYD) P/E Ratio

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Those holding Taylor Devices (NASDAQ:TAYD) shares must be pleased that the share price has rebounded 30% in the last thirty days. But unfortunately, the stock is still down by 13% over a quarter. But shareholders may not all be feeling jubilant, since the share price is still down 11% 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 implies that investors have high expectations of what a company can achieve compared to a company with a low P/E ratio.

View our latest analysis for Taylor Devices

Does Taylor Devices Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

Taylor Devices's P/E of 12.26 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (16.4) for companies in the machinery industry is higher than Taylor Devices's P/E.

NasdaqCM:TAYD Price Estimation Relative to Market May 4th 2020
NasdaqCM:TAYD Price Estimation Relative to Market May 4th 2020

This suggests that market participants think Taylor Devices will underperform other companies in its industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. 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. 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. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

Taylor Devices's 80% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. Having said that, the average EPS growth over the last three years wasn't so good, coming in at 5.1%.

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. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. 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).

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.

Is Debt Impacting Taylor Devices's P/E?

Taylor Devices has net cash of US$15m. This is fairly high at 41% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

The Bottom Line On Taylor Devices's P/E Ratio

Taylor Devices has a P/E of 12.3. That's below the average in the US market, which is 14.4. It grew its EPS nicely over the last year, and the healthy balance sheet implies there is more potential for growth. The relatively low P/E ratio implies the market is pessimistic. What we know for sure is that investors have become more excited about Taylor Devices recently, since they have pushed its P/E ratio from 9.4 to 12.3 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. 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. We don't have analyst forecasts, but 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: Taylor Devices 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).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.