A Rising Share Price Has Us Looking Closely At India Tourism Development Corporation Limited's (NSE:ITDC) P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

India Tourism Development (NSE:ITDC) shares have had a really impressive month, gaining 41%, after some slippage. But shareholders may not all be feeling jubilant, since the share price is still down 34% in the last year.

Assuming no other changes, a sharply higher share price makes a stock less attractive to potential buyers. 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 some would prefer to hold off buying when there is a lot of optimism towards a stock. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). A high P/E ratio means that investors have a high expectation about future growth, while a low P/E ratio means they have low expectations about future growth.

View our latest analysis for India Tourism Development

Does India Tourism Development Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

India Tourism Development's P/E of 44.09 indicates some degree of optimism towards the stock. The image below shows that India Tourism Development has a higher P/E than the average (18.8) P/E for companies in the hospitality industry.

NSEI:ITDC Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 20th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that India Tourism Development shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

In the last year, India Tourism Development grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 56% gain was both fast and well deserved. The cherry on top is that the five year growth rate was an impressive 43% per year. So I'd be surprised if the P/E ratio was not above average.

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. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

Is Debt Impacting India Tourism Development's P/E?

India Tourism Development has net cash of ₹3.6b. This is fairly high at 19% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

The Verdict On India Tourism Development's P/E Ratio

India Tourism Development trades on a P/E ratio of 44.1, which is multiples above its market average of 13.6. Its net cash position is the cherry on top of its superb EPS growth. So based on this analysis we'd expect India Tourism Development to have a high P/E ratio. What we know for sure is that investors have become much more excited about India Tourism Development recently, since they have pushed its P/E ratio from 31.2 to 44.1 over the last month. If you like to buy stocks that have recently impressed the market, then this one might be a candidate; but if you prefer to invest when there is 'blood in the streets', then you may feel the opportunity has passed.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. We don't have analyst forecasts, but shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

You might be able to find a better buy than India Tourism Development. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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. Thank you for reading.