Let's talk about the popular Linde plc (NYSE:LIN). The company's shares saw a decent share price growth in the teens level on the NYSE over the last few months. With many analysts covering the large-cap stock, we may expect any price-sensitive announcements have already been factored into the stock’s share price. However, what if the stock is still a bargain? Let’s take a look at Linde’s outlook and value based on the most recent financial data to see if the opportunity still exists.
Is Linde still cheap?
Linde is currently expensive based on my price multiple model, where I look at the company's price-to-earnings ratio in comparison to the industry average. In this instance, I’ve used the price-to-earnings (PE) ratio given that there is not enough information to reliably forecast the stock’s cash flows. I find that Linde’s ratio of 59.53x is above its peer average of 28.75x, which suggests the stock is trading at a higher price compared to the Chemicals industry. Another thing to keep in mind is that Linde’s share price is quite stable relative to the rest of the market, as indicated by its low beta. This means that if you believe the current share price should move towards the levels of its industry peers over time, a low beta could suggest it is not likely to reach that level anytime soon, and once it’s there, it may be hard for it to fall back down into an attractive buying range again.
What does the future of Linde look like?
Future outlook is an important aspect when you’re looking at buying a stock, especially if you are an investor looking for growth in your portfolio. Although value investors would argue that it’s the intrinsic value relative to the price that matter the most, a more compelling investment thesis would be high growth potential at a cheap price. Linde's earnings over the next few years are expected to increase by 89%, indicating a highly optimistic future ahead. This should lead to more robust cash flows, feeding into a higher share value.
What this means for you:
Are you a shareholder? It seems like the market has well and truly priced in LIN’s positive outlook, with shares trading above industry price multiples. However, this brings up another question – is now the right time to sell? If you believe LIN should trade below its current price, selling high and buying it back up again when its price falls towards the industry PE ratio can be profitable. But before you make this decision, take a look at whether its fundamentals have changed.
Are you a potential investor? If you’ve been keeping an eye on LIN for a while, now may not be the best time to enter into the stock. The price has surpassed its industry peers, which means it is likely that there is no more upside from mispricing. However, the optimistic prospect is encouraging for LIN, which means it’s worth diving deeper into other factors in order to take advantage of the next price drop.
Keep in mind, when it comes to analysing a stock it's worth noting the risks involved. For example - Linde has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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