Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Huscoke Holdings (HKG:704) share price has dived 33% in the last thirty days. That drop has capped off a tough year for shareholders, with the share price down 58% in that time.
All else being equal, a share price drop should make a stock more 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, on certain occasions, long term focussed investors try to take advantage of pessimistic expectations to buy shares at a better price. 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.
How Does Huscoke Holdings's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 2.02 that sentiment around Huscoke Holdings isn't particularly high. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (6.7) for companies in the oil and gas industry is higher than Huscoke Holdings's P/E.
Huscoke Holdings's P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. 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
Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
Huscoke Holdings's 396% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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).
Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).
Huscoke Holdings's Balance Sheet
Huscoke Holdings has net debt worth just 9.2% of its market capitalization. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.
The Verdict On Huscoke Holdings's P/E Ratio
Huscoke Holdings trades on a P/E ratio of 2.0, which is below the HK market average of 10.5. The EPS growth last year was strong, and debt levels are quite reasonable. If it continues to grow, then the current low P/E may prove to be unjustified. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become more pessimistic about Huscoke Holdings over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 3.0 back then to 2.0 today. For those who prefer invest in growth, this stock apparently offers limited promise, but the deep value investors may find the pessimism around this stock enticing.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. Although we don't have analyst forecasts you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Huscoke Holdings. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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