A Sliding Share Price Has Us Looking At Agritrade Resources Limited’s (HKG:1131) P/E Ratio

Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Agritrade Resources (HKG:1131) share price has dived 34% in the last thirty days. Given the 73% drop over the last year, some shareholders might be worried that they have become bagholders. What is a bagholder? It is a shareholder who has suffered a bad loss, but continues to hold indefinitely, without questioning their reasons for holding, even as the losses grow greater.

Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more attractive to potential buyers. 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). So, on certain occasions, long term focussed investors try to take advantage of pessimistic expectations to buy shares at a better price. 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.

View our latest analysis for Agritrade Resources

How Does Agritrade Resources’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can tell from its P/E ratio of 2.64 that sentiment around Agritrade Resources isn’t particularly high. The image below shows that Agritrade Resources has a lower P/E than the average (6.9) P/E for companies in the oil and gas industry.

SEHK:1131 Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 16th 2020
SEHK:1131 Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 16th 2020

This suggests that market participants think Agritrade Resources will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. 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.

In the last year, Agritrade Resources grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 110% gain was both fast and well deserved. The cherry on top is that the five year growth rate was an impressive 34% per year. So I’d be surprised if the P/E ratio was not above average.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

So What Does Agritrade Resources’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals a substantial 117% of Agritrade Resources’s market cap. This level of debt justifies a relatively low P/E, so remain cognizant of the debt, if you’re comparing it to other stocks.

The Bottom Line On Agritrade Resources’s P/E Ratio

Agritrade Resources’s P/E is 2.6 which is below average (10.5) in the HK market. The company may have significant debt, but EPS growth was good last year. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low. Given Agritrade Resources’s P/E ratio has declined from 4.0 to 2.6 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is more worried 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 deep value investors this stock might justify some research.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Agritrade Resources. 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.

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