Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Electra Gruppen (STO:ELEC) share price has dived 36% in the last thirty days. Indeed the recent decline has arguably caused some bitterness for shareholders who have held through the 38% drop over twelve months.
Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more attractive to potential buyers. 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. 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 Electra Gruppen's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 8.01 that sentiment around Electra Gruppen isn't particularly high. The image below shows that Electra Gruppen has a lower P/E than the average (12.2) P/E for companies in the specialty retail industry.
Electra Gruppen'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. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.
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.
Electra Gruppen saw earnings per share decrease by 1.5% last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 13% per year over the last five years. So you wouldn't expect a very high P/E.
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.
While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.
So What Does Electra Gruppen's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Electra Gruppen has net cash of kr23m. This is fairly high at 16% 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 Verdict On Electra Gruppen's P/E Ratio
Electra Gruppen's P/E is 8.0 which is below average (14.4) in the SE market. The recent drop in earnings per share would make investors cautious, the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If that occurs, the current low P/E could prove to be temporary. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become more pessimistic about Electra Gruppen over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 12.5 back then to 8.0 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 should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. Although we don't have analyst forecasts you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Electra Gruppen. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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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