To the annoyance of some shareholders, Bingo Industries (ASX:BIN) shares are down a considerable 34% in the last month. The stock has been solid, longer term, gaining 41% in the last year.
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). 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 Bingo Industries Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
Bingo Industries's P/E of 28.20 indicates some degree of optimism towards the stock. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (16.8) for companies in the commercial services industry is lower than Bingo Industries's P/E.
That means that the market expects Bingo Industries will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
Bingo Industries saw earnings per share improve by 3.2% last year. And it has improved its earnings per share by 2.8% per year over the last three years.
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. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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.
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 Bingo Industries's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Bingo Industries's net debt is 20% of its market cap. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.
The Verdict On Bingo Industries's P/E Ratio
Bingo Industries's P/E is 28.2 which is above average (13.9) in its market. With modest debt relative to its size, and modest earnings growth, the market is likely expecting sustained long-term growth, if not a near-term improvement. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become significantly less optimistic about Bingo Industries over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 42.6 back then to 28.2 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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Bingo Industries. 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 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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