This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to start learning about core concepts of fundamental analysis on practical examples from today’s market.
Bryn Mawr Bank Corporation (NASDAQ:BMTC) is trading with a trailing P/E of 25.5, which is higher than the industry average of 17.8. While this might not seem positive, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. Today, I will explain what the P/E ratio is as well as what you should look out for when using it.
Breaking down the P/E ratio
A common ratio used for relative valuation is the P/E ratio. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.
P/E Calculation for BMTC
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
BMTC Price-Earnings Ratio = $46.9 ÷ $1.838 = 25.5x
The P/E ratio isn’t a metric you view in isolation and only becomes useful when you compare it against other similar companies. We want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar characteristics as BMTC, such as size and country of operation. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. Since BMTC’s P/E of 25.5 is higher than its industry peers (17.8), it means that investors are paying more for each dollar of BMTC’s earnings. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 25 Banks companies in US including Great Basin Financial, CIB Marine Bancshares and Citizens Commerce Bancshares. You could also say that the market is suggesting that BMTC is a stronger business than the average comparable company.
Assumptions to watch out for
However, you should be aware that this analysis makes certain assumptions. Firstly, that our peer group contains companies that are similar to BMTC. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, if Bryn Mawr Bank Corporation is growing faster than its peers, then it would deserve a higher P/E ratio. We should also be aware that the stocks we are comparing to BMTC may not be fairly valued. So while we can reasonably surmise that it is optimistically valued relative to a peer group, it might be fairly valued, if the peer group is undervalued.
What this means for you:
If your personal research into the stock confirms what the P/E ratio is telling you, it might be a good time to rebalance your portfolio and reduce your holdings in BMTC. But keep in mind that the usefulness of relative valuation depends on whether you are comfortable with making the assumptions I mentioned above. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for BMTC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BMTC’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has BMTC been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of BMTC’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.