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A Sliding Share Price Has Us Looking At Ternium S.A.'s (NYSE:TX) P/E Ratio

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Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Ternium (NYSE:TX) share price has dived 34% in the last thirty days. Indeed the recent decline has arguably caused some bitterness for shareholders who have held through the 50% drop over twelve months.

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). Investors have optimistic expectations of companies with higher P/E ratios, compared to companies with lower P/E ratios.

See our latest analysis for Ternium

How Does Ternium's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can tell from its P/E ratio of 4.93 that sentiment around Ternium isn't particularly high. If you look at the image below, you can see Ternium has a lower P/E than the average (8.9) in the metals and mining industry classification.

NYSE:TX Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 10th 2020
NYSE:TX Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 10th 2020

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Ternium shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

Ternium shrunk earnings per share by 63% over the last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 1.8% per year over the last three years. This growth rate might warrant a low P/E ratio.

Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

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

Ternium's net debt is 52% of its 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 Bottom Line On Ternium's P/E Ratio

Ternium has a P/E of 4.9. That's below the average in the US market, which is 15.1. 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 Ternium's P/E ratio has declined from 7.5 to 4.9 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. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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 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.