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A Sliding Share Price Has Us Looking At Modine Manufacturing Company's (NYSE:MOD) P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

To the annoyance of some shareholders, Modine Manufacturing (NYSE:MOD) shares are down a considerable 33% in the last month. That drop has capped off a tough year for shareholders, with the share price down 47% 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). 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 Modine Manufacturing

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

Modine Manufacturing's P/E of 13.01 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. The image below shows that Modine Manufacturing has a lower P/E than the average (18.1) P/E for companies in the auto components industry.

NYSE:MOD Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 11th 2019

This suggests that market participants think Modine Manufacturing will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.

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 even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Modine Manufacturing shrunk earnings per share by 45% over the last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 8.0% per year over the last three years. And EPS is down 28% a year, over the last 5 years. This might lead to muted expectations.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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 Modine Manufacturing's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Modine Manufacturing has net debt worth a very significant 102% of its market capitalization. This level of debt justifies a relatively low P/E, so remain cognizant of the debt, if you're comparing it to other stocks.

The Verdict On Modine Manufacturing's P/E Ratio

Modine Manufacturing has a P/E of 13.0. That's below the average in the US market, which is 18.2. Given meaningful debt, and a lack of recent growth, the market looks to be extrapolating this recent performance; reflecting low expectations for the future. Given Modine Manufacturing's P/E ratio has declined from 19.4 to 13.0 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 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. 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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.