Why Investors Shouldn't Be Surprised By Aqua S.A.'s (WSE:AQA) 30% Share Price Surge

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 15, 2022
WSE:AQA
Source: Shutterstock

Aqua S.A. (WSE:AQA) shares have continued their recent momentum with a 30% gain in the last month alone. Looking back a bit further, it's encouraging to see the stock is up 60% in the last year.

After such a large jump in price, Aqua may be sending very bearish signals at the moment with a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 20.8x, since almost half of all companies in Poland have P/E ratios under 12x and even P/E's lower than 6x are not unusual. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's so lofty.

Recent times have been quite advantageous for Aqua as its earnings have been rising very briskly. It seems that many are expecting the strong earnings performance to beat most other companies over the coming period, which has increased investors’ willingness to pay up for the stock. If not, then existing shareholders might be a little nervous about the viability of the share price.

See our latest analysis for Aqua

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WSE:AQA Price Based on Past Earnings January 15th 2022
Want the full picture on earnings, revenue and cash flow for the company? Then our free report on Aqua will help you shine a light on its historical performance.

Does Growth Match The High P/E?

In order to justify its P/E ratio, Aqua would need to produce outstanding growth well in excess of the market.

If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a terrific increase of 105%. The latest three year period has also seen an excellent 311% overall rise in EPS, aided by its short-term performance. Therefore, it's fair to say the earnings growth recently has been superb for the company.

Weighing the recent medium-term upward earnings trajectory against the broader market's one-year forecast for contraction of 3.3% shows it's a great look while it lasts.

In light of this, it's understandable that Aqua's P/E sits above the majority of other companies. Presumably shareholders aren't keen to offload something they believe will continue to outmanoeuvre the bourse. Nonetheless, with most other businesses facing an uphill battle, staying on its current earnings path is no certainty.

The Key Takeaway

The strong share price surge has got Aqua's P/E rushing to great heights as well. We'd say the price-to-earnings ratio's power isn't primarily as a valuation instrument but rather to gauge current investor sentiment and future expectations.

We've established that Aqua maintains its high P/E on the strength of its recentthree-year growth beating forecasts for a struggling market, as expected. At this stage investors feel the potential for a deterioration in earnings isn't great enough to justify a lower P/E ratio. We still remain cautious about the company's ability to stay its recent course and swim against the current of the broader market turmoil. Otherwise, it's hard to see the share price falling strongly in the near future if its earnings performance persists.

It's always necessary to consider the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with Aqua (at least 1 which doesn't sit too well with us), and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Aqua. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that sit on P/E's below 20x and have grown earnings strongly.

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