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A Sliding Share Price Has Us Looking At SITC International Holdings Company Limited's (HKG:1308) P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

Unfortunately for some shareholders, the SITC International Holdings (HKG:1308) share price has dived 32% in the last thirty days. The recent drop has obliterated the annual return, with the share price now down 19% over that longer period.

Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more attractive to potential buyers. 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. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). A high P/E implies that investors have high expectations of what a company can achieve compared to a company with a low P/E ratio.

See our latest analysis for SITC International Holdings

How Does SITC International Holdings's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can tell from its P/E ratio of 10.27 that there is some investor optimism about SITC International Holdings. As you can see below, SITC International Holdings has a higher P/E than the average company (9.4) in the shipping industry.

SEHK:1308 Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 23rd 2020

SITC International Holdings's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or 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. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

It's great to see that SITC International Holdings grew EPS by 11% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 12% per year over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

How Does SITC International Holdings's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

SITC International Holdings has net cash of US$125m. 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 SITC International Holdings's P/E Ratio

SITC International Holdings's P/E is 10.3 which is above average (8.6) in its market. Its strong balance sheet gives the company plenty of resources for extra growth, and it has already proven it can grow. Therefore it seems reasonable that the market would have relatively high expectations of the company Given SITC International Holdings's P/E ratio has declined from 15.1 to 10.3 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is 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 have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. 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 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.

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