Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Sirius Real Estate (LON:SRE) share price has dived 32% in the last thirty days. The recent drop has obliterated the annual return, with the share price now down 3.2% over that longer period.
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 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 Sirius Real Estate's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 5.45 that sentiment around Sirius Real Estate isn't particularly high. If you look at the image below, you can see Sirius Real Estate has a lower P/E than the average (12.2) in the real estate industry classification.
Sirius Real Estate's P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
Sirius Real Estate increased earnings per share by an impressive 21% over the last twelve months. And earnings per share have improved by 15% annually, over the last five years. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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.
Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).
So What Does Sirius Real Estate's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Sirius Real Estate's net debt equates to 36% of its market capitalization. While that's enough to warrant consideration, it doesn't really concern us.
The Bottom Line On Sirius Real Estate's P/E Ratio
Sirius Real Estate trades on a P/E ratio of 5.5, which is below the GB market average of 12.5. The company hasn't stretched its balance sheet, and earnings growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become more pessimistic about Sirius Real Estate over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 8.1 back then to 5.5 today. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for deep value investors this stock might justify some research.
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. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.
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