Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad's (KLSE:MAYBULK) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 3.6x might make it look like a strong buy right now compared to the market in Malaysia, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios above 14x and even P/E's above 23x are quite common. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's so limited.
Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad has been doing a decent job lately as it's been growing earnings at a reasonable pace. One possibility is that the P/E is low because investors think this good earnings growth might actually underperform the broader market in the near future. If that doesn't eventuate, then existing shareholders may have reason to be optimistic about the future direction of the share price.
We don't have analyst forecasts, but you can see how recent trends are setting up the company for the future by checking out our free report on Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Does Growth Match The Low P/E?
In order to justify its P/E ratio, Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad would need to produce anemic growth that's substantially trailing the market.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered a decent 5.0% gain to the company's bottom line. However, this wasn't enough as the latest three year period has seen an unpleasant 70% overall drop in EPS. Accordingly, shareholders would have felt downbeat about the medium-term rates of earnings growth.
Weighing that medium-term earnings trajectory against the broader market's one-year forecast for expansion of 11% shows it's an unpleasant look.
With this information, we are not surprised that Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad is trading at a P/E lower than the market. Nonetheless, there's no guarantee the P/E has reached a floor yet with earnings going in reverse. Even just maintaining these prices could be difficult to achieve as recent earnings trends are already weighing down the shares.
The Final Word
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.
We've established that Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad maintains its low P/E on the weakness of its sliding earnings over the medium-term, as expected. 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 moving strongly in either direction in the near future under these circumstances.
There are also other vital risk factors to consider before investing and we've discovered 2 warning signs for Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad that you should be aware of.
If you're unsure about the strength of Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad's business, why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals for some other companies you may have missed.
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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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