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Is Secoo Holding Limited's (NASDAQ:SECO) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

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Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll look at Secoo Holding Limited's (NASDAQ:SECO) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Secoo Holding has a P/E ratio of 13.33. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.5%.

View our latest analysis for Secoo Holding

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price (in reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Secoo Holding:

P/E of 13.33 = $39.82 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, CNY ) ÷ $2.99 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

Does Secoo Holding Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (27.3) for companies in the online retail industry is higher than Secoo Holding's P/E.

NasdaqGM:SECO Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 8th 2019
NasdaqGM:SECO Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 8th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Secoo Holding shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Most would be impressed by Secoo Holding earnings growth of 24% in the last year.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

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. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

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 Secoo Holding's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt is 39% of Secoo Holding's market cap. While that's enough to warrant consideration, it doesn't really concern us.

The Bottom Line On Secoo Holding's P/E Ratio

Secoo Holding trades on a P/E ratio of 13.3, which is below the US market average of 18.3. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue. Since analysts are predicting growth will continue, one might expect to see a higher P/E so it may be worth looking closer.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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.