What is a Good P E Ratio for a Stock? Is a High PE Ratio Good? Historical PE Ratios

When the P/E ratio is negative, investors tend to look to other areas of the business to determine if an investment is appropriate. If you are looking for returns that are greater than the overall market, then you are a growth investor. This would involve looking at companies that have a high P/E ratio in comparison to the usual suspects. The trailing P/E ratio is an indicator of past performance of the company being acquired. Typically valuations of the acquired company are based on the latter ratio. However, the buyer can use an earnout provision to lower the acquisition price, with the option of making an additional payout if the targeted earnings are achieved.

  • If you are comparing same-sector companies, the one with the lower P/E may be undervalued.
  • A higher P/E ratio means that the market is more willing to pay for the earnings of the company.
  • On the other hand, a low P/E ratio doesn’t always mean an undervalued stock, either.
  • Stash101 is not an investment adviser and is distinct from Stash RIA.
  • No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information.

The average P/E ratio is normally from 12 to 15 however it depends on market and economic conditions. P/E ratio indicates what amount an investor is paying against every dollar of earnings. A higher top publicly traded cybersecurity companies P/E ratio indicates that an investor is paying more for each unit of net income. To calculate the P/E ratio, divide the current market price of one share by its earnings per share (EPS).

If you have previous work or internship experience related to investing or investment management, it is likely understood that you can use and calculate P/E ratios. They are also a core factor to consider when investing in the stock market. Ultimately, any work or internship experience that involves investing will inherently include an understanding of P/E ratios. It’s good because the stock is trading at a very cheap valuation, just 5x EPS. However, very low P/E ratios typically indicate a company with very little growth potential or possibly one that will decrease in size in the future. It’s not entirely fair to compare an utility company with a fintech company – they operate in entirely different industries with different growth opportunities.

Is It Better to Have a Higher or Lower P/E Ratio?

A low P/E ratio means that investors spend less to “purchase” those dollars of profit when buying the stock. Earnings are at the core of many stock analysis tools because fewer metrics are more important than a company’s ability to make money. Even the most charitable companies look for ways to improve profits, especially after going public and taking money from investors. This is because public markets reward profits, and investors value companies based on how efficiently they accrue. Investors have many different data points to consider when deciding which stocks to buy, and the importance of this data varies depending on their goals. Momentum traders like to find stocks with rising share prices and ride the wave upward.

A variation on the forward P/E ratio is the price/earnings-to-growth ratio, or PEG. The PEG ratio measures the relationship between the price/earnings ratio and earnings growth to provide investors with a more complete story than the P/E can on its own. The PEG ratio is calculated as a company’s trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio divided by the growth rate of its earnings for a specified time period.

Using the P/E ratio, we know ABC is trading at a multiple of 2.5x, and XYZ is trading at a multiple of 10x. For example, if stock ABC is worth $50 per share and stock XYZ is worth $10, which one is cheaper? Some investors also prefer to use N/A, or else report a value of 0 until the EPS is positive.

Contributing Author: Stocks, Fundamental and Technical Analysis

If its stock price is currently $120, its PE ratio would be 120 divided by 5, which comes out to 24. One way to put it is that the stock is trading 24 times higher than the company’s earnings, or 24x. This can be useful given that a company’s stock price, in and of itself, tells you nothing about the company’s overall valuation. Further, comparing one company’s stock price with another company’s stock price tells an investor nothing about their relative value as an investment. Thus, when an investor is comparing P/E ratios from two companies as potential investments, it is important to compare companies from the same industry and with similar characteristics.

As you can tell by now, the P/E ratio is almost useless without additional context. With this context, ABC should probably be avoided (despite its lower P/E) and XYZ should probably be bought (despite its higher P/E). Someone on our team will connect you with a financial professional in our network holding the correct designation and expertise. Ask a question about your financial situation providing as much detail as possible. Your information is kept secure and not shared unless you specify. Our writing and editorial staff are a team of experts holding advanced financial designations and have written for most major financial media publications.

They can indicate a wide variety of things and should be used with other stock research techniques. To get a better understanding of this, explore the following tool, which looks at a hypothetical stock and how its price movements and changes in earnings affect PE ratio. Just because you know how to calculate PE ratio doesn’t mean you have to. Online brokerages offer stock screening tools that tell you the PE ratio of a stock, along with many other helpful data points. Of course, a company that is persistently unprofitable, with a negative P/E ratio, is likely one you want to avoid as an investor.

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Main types of P/E ratios

The ratio tells you how much you are paying per dollar the company earns. WallStreetZen makes it easy to find, analyze, and compare a company’s P/E ratio. A good P/E ratio varies depending on factors such what is the ism as type of industry and sector, but generally, ratios between are seen as acceptable. Ratios below 10 can indicate a possible bargain, while a ratio above 20 may indicate that the stock is expensive.

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The price-to-earnings ratio can be used to compare a company to its competitors in the same industry. Comparing different companies’ P/E ratios can determine which is a better investment. However, the P/E ratio can also be compared how to buy short stock to the company’s past performance to get a better idea of how the company has grown and predict how it may grow over time. You can also see Tesla’s P/E and earnings growth rates compared to the U.S. stock market in general.

What Does It Mean When a Company Has a High P/E Ratio?

Conversely, consider XYZ, the fintech company, which is trading for $10 per share on $1 in earnings. It’s projected to grow at 100% per year for the next 3 years, meaning next year’s earnings will be $2, then $4 the year after. It’s a start, but there is much more nuance to valuing stocks than using a simple metric like the P/E ratio. $1 of earnings in a growing business with a strong, defensible moat is worth a lot more than $1 of earnings from a company facing brutal competition in a shrinking market. All else equal, the less you’re paying per dollar of earnings the better. WSZ’s tools help you build stronger conviction before you put your money on the line.

In this case, analysts can substitute the first two-quarters of the fiscal year calculation with the most recent two quarters for a trailing P/E ratio. If earnings in the first half of the year, represented by the most recent two quarters, are trending lower, the P/E ratio will be higher than 20x. This tells analysts that the stock may actually be overvalued at the current price given its declining level of earnings. Expressed as a single number, the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio measures a company’s stock price in relation to its earnings per share (EPS). The PEG ratio measures the relationship between the price/earnings ratio and earnings growth to provide investors with a more complete story than the P/E alone. The biggest limitation of the P/E ratio is that it tells investors little about the company’s EPS growth prospects.

An individual company’s high P/E ratio, for example, would be less cause for concern when the entire sector has high P/E ratios. The relative P/E will have a value below 100% if the current P/E is lower than the past value (whether the past high or low). If the relative P/E measure is 100% or more, this tells investors that the current P/E has reached or surpassed the past value. In other words, Bank of America traded at roughly 16x trailing earnings. However, the 16.21 P/E multiple by itself isn’t helpful unless you have something to compare it with, such as the stock’s industry group, a benchmark index, or Bank of America’s historical P/E range.


The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Cautious investors don’t always trust the calculations of analysts or the figures published by a company.

Then we’d have a P/E ratio of 40 instead of 20, which means the investor would be paying $40 to claim a mere $1 of earnings. This seems like a bad deal, but there are several factors that could mitigate this apparent overpricing problem. To reduce the risk of inaccurate information, the P/E ratio is but one measurement that analysts scrutinize. That’s why the P/E ratio continues to be one of the most centrally referenced points of data when analyzing a company, but by no means is it the only one. A P/E ratio, even one calculated using a forward earnings estimate, doesn’t always tell you whether the P/E is appropriate for the company’s forecasted growth rate. So, to address this limitation, investors turn to another ratio called the PEG ratio.

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