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To the annoyance of some shareholders, Guaranty Bancshares (NASDAQ:GNTY) shares are down a considerable 30% in the last month. The recent drop has obliterated the annual return, with the share price now down 29% over that longer period.
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 ratio means that investors have a high expectation about future growth, while a low P/E ratio means they have low expectations about future growth.
Does Guaranty Bancshares Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
Guaranty Bancshares has a P/E ratio of 9.52. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (9.4) for companies in the banks industry is roughly the same as Guaranty Bancshares's P/E.
Guaranty Bancshares's P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.
It's nice to see that Guaranty Bancshares grew EPS by a stonking 27% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 14% per year over the last five years. So we'd generally expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.
Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.
So What Does Guaranty Bancshares's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Guaranty Bancshares has net cash of US$13m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.
The Verdict On Guaranty Bancshares's P/E Ratio
Guaranty Bancshares's P/E is 9.5 which is below average (12.7) in the US market. The net cash position gives plenty of options to the business, and the recent improvement in EPS is good to see. One might conclude that the market is a bit pessimistic, given the low P/E ratio. Given Guaranty Bancshares's P/E ratio has declined from 13.6 to 9.5 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 to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for deep value investors this stock might justify some research.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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.
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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