Unfortunately for some shareholders, the IVE Group (ASX:IGL) share price has dived 31% in the last thirty days. Indeed the recent decline has arguably caused some bitterness for shareholders who have held through the 31% drop over twelve months.
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). Investors have optimistic expectations of companies with higher P/E ratios, compared to companies with lower P/E ratios.
Does IVE Group Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
IVE Group’s P/E of 9.25 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (24.6) for companies in the media industry is higher than IVE Group’s P/E.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that IVE Group shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the ‘E’ in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others — and that may encourage shareholders to sell.
IVE Group saw earnings per share decrease by 10% last year. But EPS is up 55% over the last 5 years. And over the longer term (3 years) earnings per share have decreased 7.5% annually. This might lead to low expectations.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet
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.
Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.
IVE Group’s Balance Sheet
IVE Group has net debt worth 52% of its market capitalization. This is a reasonably significant level of debt — all else being equal you’d expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.
The Bottom Line On IVE Group’s P/E Ratio
IVE Group trades on a P/E ratio of 9.3, which is below the AU market average of 17.0. The P/E reflects market pessimism that probably arises from the lack of recent EPS growth, paired with significant leverage. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become more pessimistic about IVE Group over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 13.5 back then to 9.3 today. 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. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.
But note: IVE Group may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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