With a median price-to-earnings (or " P/E ") ratio of close to 9x in Hong Kong, you could be forgiven for feeling indifferent about China Foods Limited's (HKG:506) P/E ratio of 10.8x. However, investors might be overlooking a clear opportunity or potential setback if there is no rational basis for the P/E.
Recent times have been advantageous for China Foods as its earnings have been rising faster than most other companies. One possibility is that the P/E is moderate because investors think this strong earnings performance might be about to tail off. If not, then existing shareholders have reason to be feeling optimistic about the future direction of the share price.
View our latest analysis for China FoodsSEHK:506 Price Based on Past Earnings July 16th 2022 Want the full picture on analyst estimates for the company? Then our free report on China Foods will help you uncover what's on the horizon.
How Is China Foods' Growth Trending?
China Foods' P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's only expected to deliver moderate growth, and importantly, perform in line with the market.
If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a worthy increase of 15%. Pleasingly, EPS has also lifted 78% in aggregate from three years ago, partly thanks to the last 12 months of growth. Accordingly, shareholders would have probably welcomed those medium-term rates of earnings growth.
Looking ahead now, EPS is anticipated to climb by 9.1% each year during the coming three years according to the five analysts following the company. Meanwhile, the rest of the market is forecast to expand by 15% per annum, which is noticeably more attractive.
In light of this, it's curious that China Foods' P/E sits in line with the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are ignoring the fairly limited growth expectations and are willing to pay up for exposure to the stock. Maintaining these prices will be difficult to achieve as this level of earnings growth is likely to weigh down the shares eventually.
What We Can Learn From China Foods' P/E?
Generally, our preference is to limit the use of the price-to-earnings ratio to establishing what the market thinks about the overall health of a company.
We've established that China Foods currently trades on a higher than expected P/E since its forecast growth is lower than the wider market. When we see a weak earnings outlook with slower than market growth, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the moderate P/E lower. This places shareholders' investments at risk and potential investors in danger of paying an unnecessary premium.
You should always think about risks. Case in point, we've spotted 1 warning sign for China Foods you should be aware of.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with a strong growth track record, trading on a P/E 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.