Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Byline Bancorp (NYSE:BY) share price has dived 32% in the last thirty days. That drop has capped off a tough year for shareholders, with the share price down 31% in that time.
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. 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 Byline Bancorp's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 8.87 that sentiment around Byline Bancorp isn't particularly high. If you look at the image below, you can see Byline Bancorp has a lower P/E than the average (10.5) in the banks industry classification.
Byline Bancorp's P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Byline Bancorp, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. You 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. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.
It's great to see that Byline Bancorp grew EPS by 24% in the last year. But earnings per share are down 23% per year over the last three 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. 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.
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.
So What Does Byline Bancorp's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Net debt totals 97% of Byline Bancorp's market cap. This is enough debt that you'd have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.
The Verdict On Byline Bancorp's P/E Ratio
Byline Bancorp has a P/E of 8.9. That's below the average in the US market, which is 15.1. The company has a meaningful amount of debt on the balance sheet, but that should not eclipse the solid earnings growth. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue. Given Byline Bancorp's P/E ratio has declined from 13.1 to 8.9 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is more worried about the business today, than it was back then. 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 should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. 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.
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