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Should You Be Tempted To Sell Tantech Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:TANH) Because Of Its PE Ratio?

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Tantech Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:TANH) trades with a trailing P/E of 22.9x, which is higher than the industry average of 17.8x. While this makes TANH appear like a stock to avoid or sell if you own it, you might change your mind after I explain the assumptions behind the P/E ratio. Today, I will break down what the P/E ratio is, how to interpret it and what to watch out for. Check out our latest analysis for Tantech Holdings

Demystifying the P/E ratio

NasdaqCM:TANH PE PEG Gauge Jun 6th 18
NasdaqCM:TANH PE PEG Gauge Jun 6th 18

A common ratio used for relative valuation is the P/E ratio. By comparing a stock’s price per share to its earnings per share, we are able to see how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.

P/E Calculation for TANH

Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share

TANH Price-Earnings Ratio = $3.29 ÷ $0.144 = 22.9x

The P/E ratio itself doesn’t tell you a lot; however, it becomes very insightful when you compare it with other similar companies. Our goal is to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to TANH, such as company lifetime and products sold. One way of gathering a peer group is to use firms in the same industry, which is what I’ll do. TANH’s P/E of 22.9x is higher than its industry peers (17.8x), which implies that each dollar of TANH’s earnings is being overvalued by investors. As such, our analysis shows that TANH represents an over-priced stock.

A few caveats

Before you jump to the conclusion that TANH should be banished from your portfolio, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two assertions. Firstly, our peer group contains companies that are similar to TANH. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, if you compared higher growth firms with TANH, then its P/E would naturally be lower since investors would reward its peers’ higher growth with a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing TANH to are fairly valued by the market. If this is violated, TANH’s P/E may be lower than its peers as they are actually overvalued by investors.

What this means for you:

You may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock as a shareholder, so its current overvaluation could signal a potential selling opportunity to reduce your exposure to TANH. Now that you understand the ins and outs of the PE metric, you should know to bear in mind its limitations before you make an investment decision. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Financial Health: Is TANH’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.

  2. Past Track Record: Has TANH been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of TANH’s historicals for more clarity.

  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.