With a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 3.2x AP Alternative Portfolio AG (BRN:APN) may be sending very bullish signals at the moment, given that almost half of all companies in Switzerland have P/E ratios greater than 18x and even P/E's higher than 29x are not unusual. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly reduced P/E.
For example, consider that AP Alternative Portfolio's financial performance has been poor lately as it's earnings have been in decline. It might be that many expect the disappointing earnings performance to continue or accelerate, which has repressed the P/E. However, if this doesn't eventuate then existing shareholders may be feeling optimistic about the future direction of the share price.
Although there are no analyst estimates available for AP Alternative Portfolio, take a look at this free data-rich visualisation to see how the company stacks up on earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The Low P/E?
In order to justify its P/E ratio, AP Alternative Portfolio would need to produce anemic growth that's substantially trailing the market.
If we review the last year of earnings, dishearteningly the company's profits fell to the tune of 4.7%. Even so, admirably EPS has lifted 881% in aggregate from three years ago, notwithstanding the last 12 months. Although it's been a bumpy ride, it's still fair to say the earnings growth recently has been more than adequate for the company.
This is in contrast to the rest of the market, which is expected to grow by 7.1% over the next year, materially lower than the company's recent medium-term annualised growth rates.
With this information, we find it odd that AP Alternative Portfolio is trading at a P/E lower than the market. Apparently some shareholders believe the recent performance has exceeded its limits and have been accepting significantly lower selling prices.
The Key Takeaway
Typically, we'd caution against reading too much into price-to-earnings ratios when settling on investment decisions, though it can reveal plenty about what other market participants think about the company.
We've established that AP Alternative Portfolio currently trades on a much lower than expected P/E since its recent three-year growth is higher than the wider market forecast. There could be some major unobserved threats to earnings preventing the P/E ratio from matching this positive performance. At least price risks look to be very low if recent medium-term earnings trends continue, but investors seem to think future earnings could see a lot of volatility.
Plus, you should also learn about these 5 warning signs we've spotted with AP Alternative Portfolio (including 2 which are a bit concerning).
It's important to make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20x).
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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