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A Rising Share Price Has Us Looking Closely At Linocraft Holdings Limited's (HKG:8383) P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

Linocraft Holdings (HKG:8383) shares have continued recent momentum with a 53% gain in the last month alone. The bad news is that even after that recovery shareholders are still underwater by about 3.3% for the full 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.

See our latest analysis for Linocraft Holdings

How Does Linocraft Holdings's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

Linocraft Holdings's P/E of 22.28 indicates some degree of optimism towards the stock. The image below shows that Linocraft Holdings has a higher P/E than the average (12.9) P/E for companies in the commercial services industry.

SEHK:8383 Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 14th 2019

Linocraft Holdings's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. 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

When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

In the last year, Linocraft Holdings grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 310% gain was both fast and well deserved. Regrettably, the longer term performance is poor, with EPS down per year over 3 years.

Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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 Linocraft Holdings's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Linocraft Holdings has net debt worth 81% of its market capitalization. This is enough debt that you'd have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Bottom Line On Linocraft Holdings's P/E Ratio

Linocraft Holdings has a P/E of 22.3. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 10.3. While its debt levels are rather high, at least its EPS is growing quickly. So despite the debt it is, perhaps, not unreasonable to see a high P/E ratio. What we know for sure is that investors have become much more excited about Linocraft Holdings recently, since they have pushed its P/E ratio from 14.6 to 22.3 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.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. We don't have analyst forecasts, but shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Linocraft Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.