To the annoyance of some shareholders, Win Hanverky Holdings (HKG:3322) shares are down a considerable 30% in the last month. Given the 72% drop over the last year, some shareholders might be worried that they have become 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.
All else being equal, a share price drop should make a stock more attractive to potential investors. In the long term, share prices tend to follow earnings per share, but in the short term prices bounce around in response to short term factors (which are not always obvious). The implication here is that long term investors have an opportunity when expectations of a company are too low. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock 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.
Does Win Hanverky Holdings Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
Win Hanverky Holdings's P/E of 6.20 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. If you look at the image below, you can see Win Hanverky Holdings has a lower P/E than the average (7.3) in the luxury industry classification.
This suggests that market participants think Win Hanverky Holdings will underperform other companies in its industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Win Hanverky Holdings, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
If earnings fall then in the future the 'E' will be lower. 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.
Win Hanverky Holdings shrunk earnings per share by 26% over the last year. But EPS is up 15% over the last 5 years. And over the longer term (3 years) earnings per share have decreased 24% annually. This could justify a low P/E.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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 spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.
Win Hanverky Holdings's Balance Sheet
Win Hanverky Holdings's net debt is considerable, at 134% of its market cap. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.
The Verdict On Win Hanverky Holdings's P/E Ratio
Win Hanverky Holdings has a P/E of 6.2. That's below the average in the HK market, which is 9.0. When you consider that the company has significant debt, and didn't grow EPS last year, it isn't surprising that the market has muted expectations. Given Win Hanverky Holdings's P/E ratio has declined from 8.9 to 6.2 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is more worried about the business today, than it was back then. 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. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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 email@example.com. 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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