Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Techtronic Industries (HKG:669) share price has dived 32% in the last thirty days. The recent drop has obliterated the annual return, with the share price now down 7.2% over that longer period.
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.
How Does Techtronic Industries's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
Techtronic Industries's P/E of 18.13 indicates some degree of optimism towards the stock. The image below shows that Techtronic Industries has a higher P/E than the average (8.8) P/E for companies in the machinery industry.
Techtronic Industries'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
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. 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.
It's great to see that Techtronic Industries grew EPS by 12% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 15% annually, over the last five years. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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).
So What Does Techtronic Industries's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Since Techtronic Industries holds net cash of US$109m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.
The Bottom Line On Techtronic Industries's P/E Ratio
Techtronic Industries trades on a P/E ratio of 18.1, which is above its market average of 8.8. Its strong balance sheet gives the company plenty of resources for extra growth, and it has already proven it can grow. So it is not surprising the market is probably extrapolating recent growth well into the future, reflected in the relatively high P/E ratio. Given Techtronic Industries's P/E ratio has declined from 26.6 to 18.1 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is significantly less confident about the business today, than it was back then. 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. 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.
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