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A Sliding Share Price Has Us Looking At Quickstep Holdings Limited's (ASX:QHL) P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St
·4 mins read

To the annoyance of some shareholders, Quickstep Holdings (ASX:QHL) shares are down a considerable 40% 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). 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Quickstep Holdings

Does Quickstep Holdings Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can tell from its P/E ratio of 13.07 that sentiment around Quickstep Holdings isn't particularly high. The image below shows that Quickstep Holdings has a lower P/E than the average (15.9) P/E for companies in the aerospace & defense industry.

ASX:QHL Price Estimation Relative to Market March 30th 2020
ASX:QHL Price Estimation Relative to Market March 30th 2020

Quickstep Holdings'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 Quickstep Holdings, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. 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

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Quickstep Holdings's 186% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive.

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. 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.

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 Quickstep Holdings's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 11% of Quickstep Holdings's market cap. That's enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you're comparing it to companies without debt.

The Bottom Line On Quickstep Holdings's P/E Ratio

Quickstep Holdings has a P/E of 13.1. That's around the same as the average in the AU market, which is 12.6. With only modest debt levels, and strong earnings growth, the market seems to doubt that the growth can be maintained. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become significantly less optimistic about Quickstep Holdings over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 21.8 back then to 13.1 today. For those who don't like to trade against momentum, that could be a warning sign, but a contrarian investor might want to take a closer look.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Quickstep Holdings. 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 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.