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Is CaixaBank, S.A.'s (BME:CABK) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

Simply Wall St

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at CaixaBank, S.A.'s (BME:CABK) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. CaixaBank has a price to earnings ratio of 9.1, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 11%.

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Check out our latest analysis for CaixaBank

How Do You Calculate CaixaBank's P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for CaixaBank:

P/E of 9.1 = €2.72 ÷ €0.30 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That isn't a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business's prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

CaixaBank's earnings per share fell by 8.9% in the last twelve months. But EPS is up 57% over the last 5 years.

Does CaixaBank Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (10.7) for companies in the banks industry is higher than CaixaBank's P/E.

BME:CABK Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 15th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that CaixaBank shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

Is Debt Impacting CaixaBank's P/E?

With net cash of €4.2b, CaixaBank has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 26% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On CaixaBank's P/E Ratio

CaixaBank's P/E is 9.1 which is below average (18.2) in the ES market. Falling earnings per share are likely to be keeping potential buyers away, but the net cash position means the company has time to improve: if so, the low P/E could be an opportunity.

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.' So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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.