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Is Canterbury Park Holding Corporation’s (NASDAQ:CPHC) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Canterbury Park Holding Corporation’s (NASDAQ:CPHC) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Canterbury Park Holding has a P/E ratio of 13.55, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying $13.55 for every $1 in prior year profit.

Check out our latest analysis for Canterbury Park Holding

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Canterbury Park Holding:

P/E of 13.55 = $16 ÷ $1.18 (Based on the year to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each $1 the company has earned over the last year. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.’

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

It’s nice to see that Canterbury Park Holding grew EPS by a stonking 79% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 24% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

How Does Canterbury Park Holding’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Canterbury Park Holding has a lower P/E than the average (18.4) P/E for companies in the hospitality industry.

NasdaqGM:CPHC PE PEG Gauge December 1st 18

This suggests that market participants think Canterbury Park Holding will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

How Does Canterbury Park Holding’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Canterbury Park Holding has net cash of US$12m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Bottom Line On Canterbury Park Holding’s P/E Ratio

Canterbury Park Holding trades on a P/E ratio of 13.6, which is below the US market average of 18. The net cash position gives plenty of options to the business, and the recent improvement in EPS is good to see. The relatively low P/E ratio implies the market is pessimistic.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Canterbury Park Holding may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

To help readers see past 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. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.