Alpha Pro Tech, Ltd. (NYSEMKT:APT) Screens Well But There Might Be A Catch

When close to half the companies in the United States have price-to-earnings ratios (or “P/E’s”) above 19x, you may consider Alpha Pro Tech, Ltd. (NYSEMKT:APT) as an attractive investment with its 13.5x P/E ratio. Although, it’s not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it’s limited.

Recent times have been pleasing for Alpha Pro Tech as its earnings have risen in spite of the market’s earnings going into reverse. It might be that many expect the strong earnings performance to degrade substantially, possibly more than the market, which has repressed the P/E. If not, then existing shareholders have reason to be quite optimistic about the future direction of the share price.

View our latest analysis for Alpha Pro Tech

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AMEX:APT Price Based on Past Earnings September 8th 2020
Want the full picture on analyst estimates for the company? Then our free report on Alpha Pro Tech will help you uncover what’s on the horizon.

What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The Low P/E?

There’s an inherent assumption that a company should underperform the market for P/E ratios like Alpha Pro Tech’s to be considered reasonable.

Retrospectively, the last year delivered an exceptional 188% gain to the company’s bottom line. The strong recent performance means it was also able to grow EPS by 355% in total over the last three years. Therefore, it’s fair to say the earnings growth recently has been superb for the company.

Looking ahead now, EPS is anticipated to climb by 143% during the coming year according to the lone analyst following the company. Meanwhile, the rest of the market is forecast to only expand by 5.2%, which is noticeably less attractive.

In light of this, it’s peculiar that Alpha Pro Tech’s P/E sits below the majority of other companies. Apparently some shareholders are doubtful of the forecasts and have been accepting significantly lower selling prices.

The Final Word

Generally, our preference is to limit the use of the price-to-earnings ratio to establishing what the market thinks about the overall health of a company.

Our examination of Alpha Pro Tech’s analyst forecasts revealed that its superior earnings outlook isn’t contributing to its P/E anywhere near as much as we would have predicted. When we see a strong earnings outlook with faster-than-market growth, we assume potential risks are what might be placing significant pressure on the P/E ratio. It appears many are indeed anticipating earnings instability, because these conditions should normally provide a boost to the share price.

And what about other risks? Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Alpha Pro Tech you should know about.

If you’re unsure about the strength of Alpha Pro Tech’s business, why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals for some other companies you may have missed.

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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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