To the annoyance of some shareholders, PJBumi Berhad (KLSE:PJBUMI) shares are down a considerable 35% in the last month. And that drop will have no doubt have some shareholders concerned that the 65% share price decline, over the last year, has turned them into bagholders. For those wondering, a bagholder is someone who keeps holding a losing stock indefinitely, without taking the time to consider its prospects carefully, going forward.
Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more 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, 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 implies that investors have high expectations of what a company can achieve compared to a company with a low P/E ratio.
How Does PJBumi Berhad’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
PJBumi Berhad’s P/E of 28.73 indicates some degree of optimism towards the stock. The image below shows that PJBumi Berhad has a significantly higher P/E than the average (9.5) P/E for companies in the construction industry.
PJBumi Berhad’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and 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. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
Most would be impressed by PJBumi Berhad earnings growth of 20% in the last year. Unfortunately, earnings per share are down 36% a year, over 5 years.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. 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.
PJBumi Berhad’s Balance Sheet
The extra options and safety that comes with PJBumi Berhad’s RM244k net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.
The Bottom Line On PJBumi Berhad’s P/E Ratio
PJBumi Berhad’s P/E is 28.7 which is above average (10.7) in its market. Its strong balance sheet gives the company plenty of resources for extra growth, and it has already proven it can grow. So it does not seem strange that the P/E is above average. Given PJBumi Berhad’s P/E ratio has declined from 44.4 to 28.7 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is significantly less confident about the business today, than it was back then. For those who don’t like to trade against momentum, that could be a warning sign, but a contrarian investor might want to take a closer look.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, ‘In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
But note: PJBumi Berhad 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.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.