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A Sliding Share Price Has Us Looking At Comet Holding AG's (VTX:COTN) P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Comet Holding (VTX:COTN) share price has dived 38% in the last thirty days. Looking back further, the stock is up 2.7% in the last year.

Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more 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, on certain occasions, long term focussed investors try to take advantage of pessimistic expectations to buy shares at a better price. 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). Investors have optimistic expectations of companies with higher P/E ratios, compared to companies with lower P/E ratios.

Check out our latest analysis for Comet Holding

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

Comet Holding's P/E of 55.39 indicates some degree of optimism towards the stock. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (16.5) for companies in the electronic industry is a lot lower than Comet Holding's P/E.

SWX:COTN Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 22nd 2020

Comet Holding's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

If earnings fall then in the future the 'E' will be lower. 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.

Comet Holding shrunk earnings per share by 2.1% last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 15% per year over the last five years. So we might expect a relatively low P/E.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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).

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.

Is Debt Impacting Comet Holding's P/E?

Comet Holding has net debt worth just 1.7% of its market capitalization. So it doesn't have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.

The Verdict On Comet Holding's P/E Ratio

With a P/E ratio of 55.4, Comet Holding is expected to grow earnings very strongly in the years to come. With a bit of debt, but a lack of recent growth, it's safe to say the market is expecting improved profit performance from the company, in the next few years. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become significantly less optimistic about Comet Holding over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 89.9 back then to 55.4 today. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for a contrarian, it may signal opportunity.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Comet Holding. 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.