‘Don’t bank only on price-to-earning ratio’

Mumbai: Valuations have been the big buzzword on Dalal Street for a while now but its suddenly gaining momentum. These days every conversation begins with the P/E ratio (price to earning ratio, which compares the current price of the share with its per share earnings) and ends with a loud proclamation that the valuations look ‘a bit stretched.’

However, many experts believe that looking at a ratio in isolation won’t help investors grasp the realities of the market and a higher valuation may not be the only deciding factor driving the market.

‘‘Valuations matter in the long run, but it need not have an impact in the short run. This is because there is never a right valuation for a stock, as it is a highly individual call,’’ says Mukesh Dedhia, director, Ghalla & Bhansali Securities.

‘‘For example, a stock with a higher P/E may be moving ahead further as there is greater demand for the stock because of its higher earnings possibility. So, there is always a bit of confusion about the right valuation,’’ he adds.

‘‘If you look at the broader market, it is difficult to get a value pick. But if you are doing a bottom up method, you would still find many stocks in the market with the right valuation,’’ says Rajiv Thakkar, CEO, Parag Parikh Financial Advisory Services. Though he is a firm believer of value investing, he says looking at a ratio alone won’t be the right way to investing in a stock.

‘‘There are many things you have to consider. For example, you have to find out whether the growth rate is sustainable or how much capital is required to keep the growth. Sometimes, there would be volume growth, but the margins could be under pressure. There are a host of issues to consider, just looking at a ratio is not enough,’’ he adds.

Some experts also believe that the higher valuations could be justified if foreign investors continue to pump money into the stock market with the hope of better performance by Indian companies.

‘‘The current valuations doesn’t justify the long term growth potential of India. The market is trading 17 times the earnings potential in 2011 and around 13.8 times the earnings forecast for 2012. It even carry a premium of around 50% to other emerging markets and around 25% premium to other global markets,’’ says Devendra Nevgi, Founder & Principal Partner, Delta Global Partners. He believes that the premium can be justified if the foreign investors continue to bet on Indian stocks.

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