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# Does Bankwell Financial Group, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:BWFG) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

Brandy Kinsey

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Bankwell Financial Group, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:BWFG) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, Bankwell Financial Group’s P/E ratio is 12.82. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying \$12.82 for every \$1 in prior year profit.

### How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Bankwell Financial Group:

P/E of 12.82 = \$26.75 ÷ \$2.09 (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. 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Bankwell Financial Group saw earnings per share improve by -5.8% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 15% annually, over the last five years.

### How Does Bankwell Financial Group’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Bankwell Financial Group has a lower P/E than the average (14.1) P/E for companies in the banks industry.

Bankwell Financial Group’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Bankwell Financial Group, it’s quite possible it could surprise on the upside. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

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

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

### Bankwell Financial Group’s Balance Sheet

Bankwell Financial Group has net debt worth 62% 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 Bankwell Financial Group’s P/E Ratio

Bankwell Financial Group’s P/E is 12.8 which is below average (16.1) in the US market. It’s good to see EPS growth in the last 12 months, but the debt on the balance sheet might be muting expectations.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. 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 Bankwell Financial Group. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.