The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to better understand how you can grow your money by investing in Ames National Corporation (NASDAQ:ATLO).
Ames National Corporation (NASDAQ:ATLO) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 20.7x, which is higher than the industry average of 17.1x. While this makes ATLO appear like a stock to avoid or sell if you own it, you might change your mind after I explain the assumptions behind the P/E ratio. Today, I will break down what the P/E ratio is, how to interpret it and what to watch out for. Check out our latest analysis for Ames National
What you need to know about the P/E ratio
The P/E ratio is one of many ratios used in relative valuation. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.
P/E Calculation for ATLO
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
ATLO Price-Earnings Ratio = $31.45 ÷ $1.517 = 20.7x
The P/E ratio itself doesn’t tell you a lot; however, it becomes very insightful when you compare it with other similar companies. Our goal is to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to ATLO, such as company lifetime and products sold. One way of gathering a peer group is to use firms in the same industry, which is what I’ll do. ATLO’s P/E of 20.7x is higher than its industry peers (17.1x), which implies that each dollar of ATLO’s earnings is being overvalued by investors. Therefore, according to this analysis, ATLO is an over-priced stock.
A few caveats
However, before you rush out to sell your ATLO shares, it is important to note that this conclusion is based on two key assumptions. Firstly, our peer group contains companies that are similar to ATLO. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, if you compared higher growth firms with ATLO, then its P/E would naturally be lower since investors would reward its peers’ higher growth with a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing ATLO to are fairly valued by the market. If this is violated, ATLO’s P/E may be lower than its peers as they are actually overvalued by investors.
What this means for you:
Since you may have already conducted your due diligence on ATLO, the overvaluation of the stock may mean it is a good time to reduce your current holdings. But at the end of the day, keep in mind that relative valuation relies heavily on critical assumptions I’ve outlined above. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for ATLO’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ATLO’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has ATLO been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of ATLO’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.