Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Croma Security Solutions Group (LON:CSSG) share price has dived 35% in the last thirty days. That drop has capped off a tough year for shareholders, with the share price down 39% in that time.
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). 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). A high P/E implies that investors have high expectations of what a company can achieve compared to a company with a low P/E ratio.
How Does Croma Security Solutions Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 10.13 that sentiment around Croma Security Solutions Group isn't particularly high. If you look at the image below, you can see Croma Security Solutions Group has a lower P/E than the average (17.8) in the electronic industry classification.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Croma Security Solutions Group shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. 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
Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.
Croma Security Solutions Group's earnings per share fell by 43% in the last twelve months. But EPS is up 16% over the last 5 years.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).
Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.
So What Does Croma Security Solutions Group's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
With net cash of UK£2.3m, Croma Security Solutions Group has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 25% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.
The Bottom Line On Croma Security Solutions Group's P/E Ratio
Croma Security Solutions Group's P/E is 10.1 which is below average (12.7) in the GB market. Falling earnings per share are likely to be keeping potential buyers away, but the net cash position means the company has time to improve: if so, the low P/E could be an opportunity. Given Croma Security Solutions Group's P/E ratio has declined from 15.5 to 10.1 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is significantly less confident about the business today, than it was back then. For those who don't like to trade against momentum, that could be a warning sign, but a contrarian investor might want to take a closer look.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. Although we don't have analyst forecasts shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
But note: Croma Security Solutions Group may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio 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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