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A Rising Share Price Has Us Looking Closely At Feishang Anthracite Resources Limited's (HKG:1738) P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

It's great to see Feishang Anthracite Resources (HKG:1738) shareholders have their patience rewarded with a 85% share price pop in the last month. Zooming out, the annual gain of 106% knocks our socks off.

All else being equal, a sharp share price increase should make a stock less attractive to potential investors. 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). So some would prefer to hold off buying when there is a lot of optimism towards a stock. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Feishang Anthracite Resources

How Does Feishang Anthracite Resources's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can tell from its P/E ratio of 14.00 that there is some investor optimism about Feishang Anthracite Resources. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (6.7) for companies in the oil and gas industry is lower than Feishang Anthracite Resources's P/E.

SEHK:1738 Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 27th 2019

That means that the market expects Feishang Anthracite Resources will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

Feishang Anthracite Resources saw earnings per share decrease by 15% last year.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

So What Does Feishang Anthracite Resources's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Feishang Anthracite Resources's net debt is considerable, at 175% of its market cap. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.

The Bottom Line On Feishang Anthracite Resources's P/E Ratio

Feishang Anthracite Resources has a P/E of 14.0. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 10.3. With relatively high debt, and no earnings per share growth over twelve months, it's safe to say the market believes the company will improve its earnings growth in the future. What we know for sure is that investors have become much more excited about Feishang Anthracite Resources recently, since they have pushed its P/E ratio from 7.6 to 14.0 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. Although we don't have analyst forecasts shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

You might be able to find a better buy than Feishang Anthracite 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 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.