99 Technology Limited's (ASX:NNT) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 15.7x might make it look like a buy right now compared to the market in Australia, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios above 21x and even P/E's above 39x are quite common. However, the P/E might be low for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it's justified.
Recent times have been quite advantageous for 99 Technology as its earnings have been rising very briskly. It might be that many expect the strong earnings performance to degrade substantially, which has repressed the P/E. If you like the company, you'd be hoping this isn't the case so that you could potentially pick up some stock while it's out of favour.free report on 99 Technology's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The Low P/E?
99 Technology's P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's only expected to deliver limited growth, and importantly, perform worse than the market.
Taking a look back first, we see that the company grew earnings per share by an impressive 140% last year. However, the latest three year period hasn't been as great in aggregate as it didn't manage to provide any growth at all. Accordingly, shareholders probably wouldn't have been overly satisfied with the unstable medium-term growth rates.
Comparing that to the market, which is predicted to deliver 25% growth in the next 12 months, the company's momentum is weaker based on recent medium-term annualised earnings results.
In light of this, it's understandable that 99 Technology's P/E sits below the majority of other companies. Apparently many shareholders weren't comfortable holding on to something they believe will continue to trail the bourse.
The Key Takeaway
It's argued the price-to-earnings ratio is an inferior measure of value within certain industries, but it can be a powerful business sentiment indicator.
We've established that 99 Technology maintains its low P/E on the weakness of its recent three-year growth being lower than the wider market forecast, as expected. Right now shareholders are accepting the low P/E as they concede future earnings probably won't provide any pleasant surprises. If recent medium-term earnings trends continue, it's hard to see the share price rising strongly in the near future under these circumstances.
Before you settle on your opinion, we've discovered 2 warning signs for 99 Technology that you should be aware of.
If you're unsure about the strength of 99 Technology'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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