How Does Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings’s (LON:RQIH) P/E Compare To Its Industry, After Its Big Share Price Gain?

Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings (LON:RQIH) shares have had a really impressive month, gaining 32%, after some slippage. The full year gain of 21% is pretty reasonable, too.

Assuming no other changes, a sharply higher share price makes a stock less attractive to potential buyers. 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. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings

Does Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings’s P/E of 9.18 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. If you look at the image below, you can see Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings has a lower P/E than the average (14.8) in the insurance industry classification.

AIM:RQIH Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 9th 2019
AIM:RQIH Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 9th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings’s 181% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. The cherry on top is that the five year growth rate was an impressive 30% per year. With that kind of growth rate we would generally expect a high P/E ratio.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

How Does Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

With net cash of UK£168m, Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 39% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings’s P/E Ratio

Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings trades on a P/E ratio of 9.2, which is below the GB market average of 16.0. It grew its EPS nicely over the last year, and the healthy balance sheet implies there is more potential for growth. One might conclude that the market is a bit pessimistic, given the low P/E ratio. What is very clear is that the market has become less pessimistic about Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings over the last month, with the P/E ratio rising from 7.0 back then to 9.2 today. For those who like to invest in turnarounds, that might mean it’s time to put the stock on a watchlist, or research it. But others might consider the opportunity to have passed.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

You might be able to find a better buy than Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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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. Thank you for reading.