To the annoyance of some shareholders, Serinus Energy plc (LON:SENX) shares are down a considerable 35% in the last month, which continues a horrid run for the company. The recent drop completes a disastrous twelve months for shareholders, who are sitting on a 72% loss during that time.
After such a large drop in price, Serinus Energy's price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 4.2x might make it look like a strong buy right now compared to the market in the United Kingdom, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios above 14x and even P/E's above 28x are quite common. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly reduced P/E.
For instance, Serinus Energy's receding earnings in recent times would have to be some food for thought. 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 Serinus Energy, take a look at this free data-rich visualisation to see how the company stacks up on earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Is There Any Growth For Serinus Energy?
The only time you'd be truly comfortable seeing a P/E as depressed as Serinus Energy's is when the company's growth is on track to lag the market decidedly.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered a frustrating 80% decrease to the company's bottom line. This has erased any of its gains during the last three years, with practically no change in EPS being achieved in total. So it appears to us that the company has had a mixed result in terms of growing earnings over that time.
Weighing that recent medium-term earnings trajectory against the broader market's one-year forecast for expansion of 6.5% shows it's noticeably less attractive on an annualised basis.
In light of this, it's understandable that Serinus Energy's P/E sits below the majority of other companies. Apparently many shareholders weren't comfortable holding on to something they believe will continue to trail the bourse.
The Key Takeaway
Serinus Energy's P/E looks about as weak as its stock price lately. It's argued the price-to-earnings ratio is an inferior measure of value within certain industries, but it can be a powerful business sentiment indicator.
As we suspected, our examination of Serinus Energy revealed its three-year earnings trends are contributing to its low P/E, given they look worse than current market expectations. Right now shareholders are accepting the low P/E as they concede future earnings probably won't provide any pleasant surprises. If recent medium-term earnings trends continue, it's hard to see the share price rising strongly in the near future under these circumstances.
Before you settle on your opinion, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Serinus Energy (1 is potentially serious!) that you should be aware of.
Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Serinus Energy. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have reasonable P/E ratios and have grown earnings strongly.
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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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