Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Yuzhou Properties (HKG:1628) 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 36% 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. 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.
How Does Yuzhou Properties’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 3.16 that sentiment around Yuzhou Properties isn’t particularly high. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (6.2) for companies in the real estate industry is higher than Yuzhou Properties’s P/E.
Yuzhou Properties’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Yuzhou Properties, it’s quite possible it could surprise on the upside. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. 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.
Yuzhou Properties’s earnings per share were pretty steady over the last year. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 8.0%.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in 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.
Is Debt Impacting Yuzhou Properties’s P/E?
Net debt totals a substantial 140% of Yuzhou Properties’s market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you must keep in mind that these debt levels would usually warrant a relatively low P/E.
The Bottom Line On Yuzhou Properties’s P/E Ratio
Yuzhou Properties trades on a P/E ratio of 3.2, which is below the HK market average of 8.6. The meaningful debt load is probably contributing to low expectations, even though it has improved earnings recently. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become more pessimistic about Yuzhou Properties over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 4.6 back then to 3.2 today. For those who prefer invest in growth, this stock apparently offers limited promise, but the deep value investors may find the pessimism around this stock enticing.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Yuzhou Properties. 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 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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