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A Sliding Share Price Has Us Looking At ENAV S.p.A.'s (BIT:ENAV) P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

Unfortunately for some shareholders, the ENAV (BIT:ENAV) share price has dived 38% in the last thirty days. Even longer term holders have taken a real hit with the stock declining 25% in the last year.

All else being equal, a share price drop should make a stock more attractive to potential investors. While the market sentiment towards a stock is very changeable, in the long run, the share price will tend to move in the same direction as earnings per share. The implication here is that long term investors have an opportunity when expectations of a company are too low. 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 implies that investors have high expectations of what a company can achieve compared to a company with a low P/E ratio.

Check out our latest analysis for ENAV

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

We can tell from its P/E ratio of 16.58 that there is some investor optimism about ENAV. As you can see below, ENAV has a higher P/E than the average company (10.0) in the infrastructure industry.

BIT:ENAV Price Estimation Relative to Market March 26th 2020

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that ENAV shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. 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.

ENAV increased earnings per share by 3.5% last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 44% per year over the last five 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. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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).

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

With net cash of €511m, ENAV has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 27% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Verdict On ENAV's P/E Ratio

ENAV trades on a P/E ratio of 16.6, which is above its market average of 12.7. Earnings improved over the last year. Also positive, the relatively strong balance sheet will allow for investment in growth -- and the P/E indicates shareholders that will happen! Given ENAV's P/E ratio has declined from 26.6 to 16.6 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is significantly less confident about the business today, than it was back then. For those who don't like to trade against momentum, that could be a warning sign, but a contrarian investor might want to take a closer look.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

You might be able to find a better buy than ENAV. 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.