U.S. Markets closed

Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC) Still Undervalued?

Simply Wall St

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use First Republic Bank's (NYSE:FRC) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. What is First Republic Bank's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 20.47. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying $20.47 for every $1 in prior year profit.

Check out our latest analysis for First Republic Bank

How Do I Calculate First Republic Bank's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for First Republic Bank:

P/E of 20.47 = $102.56 ÷ $5.01 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Most would be impressed by First Republic Bank earnings growth of 10% in the last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 10%. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio.

Does First Republic Bank Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (13) for companies in the banks industry is lower than First Republic Bank's P/E.

NYSE:FRC Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 10th 2019

First Republic Bank's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

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. 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 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 First Republic Bank's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

First Republic Bank has net debt equal to 35% of its market cap. While that's enough to warrant consideration, it doesn't really concern us.

The Verdict On First Republic Bank's P/E Ratio

First Republic Bank's P/E is 20.5 which is above average (18.1) in the US market. Its debt levels do not imperil its balance sheet and it is growing EPS strongly. Therefore, it's not particularly surprising that it has a above average P/E ratio.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than First Republic Bank. 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.