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 Carlisle Companies Incorporated's (NYSE:CSL) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Carlisle Companies has a P/E ratio of 19.79. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $19.79 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.
How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?
The formula for P/E is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Carlisle Companies:
P/E of 19.79 = $157.90 ÷ $7.98 (Based on the year to September 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. 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 Carlisle Companies's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Carlisle Companies has a lower P/E than the average (25.6) P/E for companies in the industrials industry.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Carlisle Companies 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. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.
Carlisle Companies increased earnings per share by a whopping 30% last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 15% per year over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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 expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.
Carlisle Companies's Balance Sheet
Net debt totals 10% of Carlisle Companies's market cap. That's enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you're comparing it to companies without debt.
The Bottom Line On Carlisle Companies's P/E Ratio
Carlisle Companies has a P/E of 19.8. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 18.2. Its debt levels do not imperil its balance sheet and its EPS growth is very healthy indeed. So on this analysis a high P/E ratio seems reasonable.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 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 Carlisle Companies. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.