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Is ConnectOne Bancorp, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:CNOB) 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 apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to ConnectOne Bancorp, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:CNOB), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Based on the last twelve months, ConnectOne Bancorp's P/E ratio is 12.27. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 8.1%.

See our latest analysis for ConnectOne Bancorp

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for ConnectOne Bancorp:

P/E of 12.27 = $25.23 ÷ $2.06 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Is A High P/E 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 Does ConnectOne Bancorp's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. As you can see below ConnectOne Bancorp has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the banks industry, which is 12.7.

NasdaqGS:CNOB Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 18th 2019

Its P/E ratio suggests that ConnectOne Bancorp shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. 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 ConnectOne Bancorp grew EPS by a stonking 27% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 21% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

How Does ConnectOne Bancorp's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

ConnectOne Bancorp has net debt worth 50% of its market capitalization. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you should absolutely keep in mind it has significant borrowings.

The Verdict On ConnectOne Bancorp's P/E Ratio

ConnectOne Bancorp has a P/E of 12.3. That's below the average in the US market, which is 18.2. The company has a meaningful amount of debt on the balance sheet, but that should not eclipse the solid earnings growth. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than ConnectOne Bancorp. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.