Investors sometimes wish to collocate how the share price of one organization tallies to that of another. However, simply browsing over the stock prices is as similar to comparing apples to oranges, given the fact that companies have a myriad of shares outstanding. Even if the companies had the exact share float, they operate in varying niches or are currently placed at different stages in the corporate world. Thankfully, financial analysts have curated a number of tools for meeting such purposes of comparison. The P/E or price-to-earnings ratio is one such metric that is widely availed across the globe.
Price/Earnings Ratio and Earnings Per Share
The price/earnings ratio (P/E) is perhaps one of the best-known indicators that comes in handy during investment valuation. Even though the P/E ratio has its own share of minimal imperfections, there is no doubt to the fact that it is the most widely reported and leveraged valuation by the investment public and investment professionals. The investment research services along with the financial reporting of both companies utilize a basic earnings per share or EPS figure which is divided into the existing stock price to learn the estimate of P/E multiple, which is the number of times a stock is trading per each dollar of earnings per share.
Although it is not surprising that the calculated EPS figures are sometimes very positive during the bull markets while highlighting a bit of pessimism of during bear markets. Moreover, as a matter of historical reference, it goes without saying that the precision of stock analyst earnings calculations should be dealt with a bit of skepticism by the investors. However, the analyst estimates and the thoughts circulating around the future bound projections of a company’s earnings do play an integral part in stock pricing considerations of Wall Street. On average, the P/E ratio for a broad market has been estimated around 15, which keeps on fluctuating, owing to its reliance on the market and economic conditions. Besides, the ratio will also differ widely in contrast to various industries and organizations.
The basic formula for deriving the price-to-earnings ratio is exceptionally standard. There is never an issue with the numerator – the investor can attain an existing closing stock price from different sources and they will all seek out the same dollar figure, which is none other than the per-share number. However, there are few variations in the numbers utilized for the EPS value in the denominator. The fairly standard EPS dollar figures used involves the following:
Basic Earnings Per Share: This is determined by the period known as the TTM or trailing twelve months in the investment research materials. In order to identify a P/E ratio calculated on this basis, the term used by the investors is known as the “trailing P/E”.
Estimated P/E Ratio: Depending on an upcoming 12-month projection, this EPS estimate is a calculation generated by the investment research analyst instead of a “hard number”.
The Value Line Investment Survey Approach: Perhaps this is one of the most well-proficient and respected stock research establishment that has made a P/E ratio so popular which uses the six months of original trailing EPS and six months of estimated or forward, as its EPS element in this ratio.
What Does the P/E Ratio Tell the Investors?
Astutely designed for determining the stock valuation, the P/E or price-to-earnings ratio is likely one of the most popularly used stock analysis tools in the market. Apart from showcasing whether a firm’s stock price is overvalued or undervalued, this ratio can also unravel the secret of how a stock’s valuation equates to its industry group. Furthermore, the P/E ratio the number of dollars an investor can decide to invest in a company for receiving one dollar of that company’s earnings. That is why the P/E ratio is often called as the price multiple since it displays how much are the investors willing to pay for each dollar of the earnings. The P/E ratio allows the investors to acknowledge the market value of a stock in contrast to the company’s earnings. In other words, the P/E ratio helps you in understanding what the current market is ready to pay right now for a stock determining its future and past earnings.
Finally, with a high P/E ratio, the investors can expect to enjoy higher earnings growth in the coming times in contrast to firms with a lower P/E. A low P/E serves the indication that either the company is doing relatively well compared to its past trends or it is currently undervalued.