U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    3,465.39
    +11.90 (+0.34%)
     
  • Dow 30

    28,335.57
    -28.09 (-0.10%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    11,548.28
    +42.28 (+0.37%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,640.50
    +10.25 (+0.63%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    39.78
    -0.86 (-2.12%)
     
  • Gold

    1,903.40
    -1.20 (-0.06%)
     
  • Silver

    24.70
    -0.01 (-0.04%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1868
    +0.0042 (+0.36%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    0.8410
    -0.0070 (-0.83%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3038
    -0.0042 (-0.32%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    104.7200
    -0.1200 (-0.11%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    12,983.46
    -328.67 (-2.47%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    260.05
    -1.40 (-0.54%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    5,860.28
    +74.63 (+1.29%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    23,516.59
    +42.32 (+0.18%)
     

What Is SEEK's (ASX:SEK) P/E Ratio After Its Share Price Rocketed?

Simply Wall St
·4 mins read

Those holding SEEK (ASX:SEK) shares must be pleased that the share price has rebounded 36% in the last thirty days. But unfortunately, the stock is still down by 31% over a quarter. But shareholders may not all be feeling jubilant, since the share price is still down 11% in the last 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). 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 SEEK

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

SEEK's P/E of 36.62 indicates some degree of optimism towards the stock. The image below shows that SEEK has a higher P/E than the average (12.6) P/E for companies in the professional services industry.

ASX:SEK Price Estimation Relative to Market April 22nd 2020
ASX:SEK Price Estimation Relative to Market April 22nd 2020

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that SEEK shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. 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

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the 'E' in the equation. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

SEEK's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 232% last year. Unfortunately, earnings per share are down 11% a year, over 5 years.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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.

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.

How Does SEEK's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

SEEK's net debt is 23% of its market cap. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Bottom Line On SEEK's P/E Ratio

SEEK trades on a P/E ratio of 36.6, which is above its market average of 14.1. 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 SEEK recently, since they have pushed its P/E ratio from 26.8 to 36.6 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. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

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

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.