Unfortunately for some shareholders, the GTN (ASX:GTN) share price has dived 36% in the last thirty days. And that drop will have no doubt have some shareholders concerned that the 62% share price decline, over the last year, has turned them into bagholders. What is a bagholder? It is a shareholder who has suffered a bad loss, but continues to hold indefinitely, without questioning their reasons for holding, even as the losses grow greater.
All else being equal, a share price drop should make a stock more 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, on certain occasions, long term focussed investors try to take advantage of pessimistic expectations to buy shares at a better price. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). Investors have optimistic expectations of companies with higher P/E ratios, compared to companies with lower P/E ratios.
Does GTN Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
GTN's P/E of 8.62 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (14.8) for companies in the media industry is higher than GTN's P/E.
GTN'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. 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
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
GTN's earnings per share fell by 41% in the last twelve months. But EPS is up 127% over the last 3 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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.
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.
How Does GTN's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
Net debt totals just 9.2% of GTN's market cap. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.
The Bottom Line On GTN's P/E Ratio
GTN has a P/E of 8.6. That's below the average in the AU market, which is 12.9. Since it only carries a modest debt load, it's likely the low expectations implied by the P/E ratio arise from the lack of recent earnings growth. Given GTN's P/E ratio has declined from 13.5 to 8.6 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 invest in growth, this stock apparently offers limited promise, but the deep value investors may find the pessimism around this stock enticing.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than GTN. 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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