Anika Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ANIK) shares have continued recent momentum with a 36% gain in the last month alone. The full year gain of 29% is pretty reasonable, too.
All else being equal, a sharp share price increase should make a stock less 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 some would prefer to hold off buying when there is a lot of optimism towards a stock. 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 Anika Therapeutics’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 25.41 that there is some investor optimism about Anika Therapeutics. The image below shows that Anika Therapeutics has a higher P/E than the average (19.5) P/E for companies in the biotechs industry.
That means that the market expects Anika Therapeutics will outperform other companies in its industry.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the ‘E’ in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others — and that may encourage shareholders to sell.
Anika Therapeutics’s 65% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. Regrettably, the longer term performance is poor, with EPS down 3.4% per year over 5 years.
Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits
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.
Is Debt Impacting Anika Therapeutics’s P/E?
Anika Therapeutics has net cash of US$143m. This is fairly high at 19% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.
The Bottom Line On Anika Therapeutics’s P/E Ratio
Anika Therapeutics’s P/E is 25.4 which is above average (18) in its market. Its net cash position is the cherry on top of its superb EPS growth. To us, this is the sort of company that we would expect to carry an above average price tag (relative to earnings). What is very clear is that the market has become significantly more optimistic about Anika Therapeutics over the last month, with the P/E ratio rising from 18.7 back then to 25.4 today. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might mean it’s time to put the stock on a watchlist, or research it. But the contrarian may see it as a missed opportunity.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Anika Therapeutics. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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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. Thank you for reading.