To the annoyance of some shareholders, Rizhao Port Jurong (HKG:6117) shares are down a considerable 35% in the last month. Zooming out, the recent drop wiped out a year's worth of gains, with the share price now back where it was a year ago.
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. 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). 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.
Does Rizhao Port Jurong Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
Rizhao Port Jurong has a P/E ratio of 8.11. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (8.3) for companies in the infrastructure industry is roughly the same as Rizhao Port Jurong's P/E.
Its P/E ratio suggests that Rizhao Port Jurong shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. Checking factors such as director buying and selling. could help you form your own view on if that will happen.
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.
Rizhao Port Jurong's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 57% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 21% annually, over the last three years. So we'd absolutely expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).
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.
Is Debt Impacting Rizhao Port Jurong's P/E?
Rizhao Port Jurong has net cash of CN¥457m. This is fairly high at 28% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.
The Bottom Line On Rizhao Port Jurong's P/E Ratio
Rizhao Port Jurong trades on a P/E ratio of 8.1, which is below the HK market average of 10.5. Not only should the net cash position reduce risk, but the recent growth has been impressive. One might conclude that the market is a bit pessimistic, given the low P/E ratio. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become more pessimistic about Rizhao Port Jurong over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 12.6 back then to 8.1 today. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for deep value investors this stock might justify some research.
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. We don't have analyst forecasts, but shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Rizhao Port Jurong. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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 email@example.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.