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Does AMC Networks Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AMCX) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

Simply Wall St

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how AMC Networks Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AMCX) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. AMC Networks has a price to earnings ratio of 4.63, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 21.6%.

Check out our latest analysis for AMC Networks

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for AMC Networks:

P/E of 4.63 = USD37.79 ÷ USD8.17 (Based on the year to September 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 necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Does AMC Networks's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that AMC Networks has a lower P/E than the average (14.1) P/E for companies in the media industry.

NasdaqGS:AMCX Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 18th 2020

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that AMC Networks 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.

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. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

AMC Networks saw earnings per share decrease by 6.8% last year. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 21%.

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. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

AMC Networks's Balance Sheet

AMC Networks has net debt worth a very significant 111% of its market capitalization. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.

The Bottom Line On AMC Networks's P/E Ratio

AMC Networks has a P/E of 4.6. That's below the average in the US market, which is 18.4. Given meaningful debt, and a lack of recent growth, the market looks to be extrapolating this recent performance; reflecting low expectations for the future.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.