Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Fauquier Bankshares (NASDAQ:FBSS) share price has dived in the last thirty days. The recent drop has obliterated the annual return, with the share price now down 24% over that longer period.
All else being equal, a sharp share price increase should make a stock less 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 some would prefer to hold off buying when there is a lot of optimism towards a stock. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock 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.
How Does Fauquier Bankshares’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
Fauquier Bankshares has a P/E ratio of 9.21. As you can see below Fauquier Bankshares has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the banks industry, which is 9.9.
That indicates that the market expects Fauquier Bankshares will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. Further research into factors such as insider buying and selling, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. 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 Fauquier Bankshares grew EPS by 11% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 6.9% per year over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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.
How Does Fauquier Bankshares’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
With net cash of US$25m, Fauquier Bankshares has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 40% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.
The Verdict On Fauquier Bankshares’s P/E Ratio
Fauquier Bankshares’s P/E is 9.2 which is below average (13.8) in the US market. It grew its EPS nicely over the last year, and the healthy balance sheet implies there is more potential for growth. The below average P/E ratio suggests that market participants don’t believe the strong growth will continue. Given Fauquier Bankshares’s P/E ratio has declined from 9.2 to 9.2 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 should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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.
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.
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