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Does CTI Industries Corporation’s (NASDAQ:CTIB) PE Ratio Warrant A Sell?

Willa Russo

CTI Industries Corporation (NASDAQ:CTIB) trades with a trailing P/E of 88.8x, which is higher than the industry average of 17.4x. Although some investors may jump to the conclusion that you should avoid the stock or sell if you own it, understanding the assumptions behind the P/E ratio might change your mind. Today, I will break down what the P/E ratio is, how to interpret it and what to watch out for. See our latest analysis for CTI Industries

Breaking down the P/E ratio

NasdaqCM:CTIB PE PEG Gauge Jan 3rd 18

The P/E ratio is one of many ratios used in relative valuation. 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 CTIB

Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share

CTIB Price-Earnings Ratio = $4.07 ÷ $0.046 = 88.8x

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 preferably want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar features to CTIB, such as capital structure and profitability. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. CTIB’s P/E of 88.8x is higher than its industry peers (17.4x), which implies that each dollar of CTIB’s earnings is being overvalued by investors. Therefore, according to this analysis, CTIB is an over-priced stock.

Assumptions to be aware of

Before you jump to the conclusion that CTIB should be banished from your portfolio, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two assertions. Firstly, our peer group contains companies that are similar to CTIB. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, if you compared lower risk firms with CTIB, then investors would naturally value it at a lower price since it is a riskier investment. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing CTIB to are fairly valued by the market. If this does not hold, there is a possibility that CTIB’s P/E is lower because our peer group is overvalued by the market.

What this means for you:

Are you a shareholder? You may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock as a shareholder, so its current overvaluation could signal a potential selling opportunity to reduce your exposure to CTIB. Now that you understand the ins and outs of the PE metric, you should know to bear in mind its limitations before you make an investment decision.

Are you a potential investor? If you are considering investing in CTIB, basing your decision on the PE metric at one point in time is certainly not sufficient. I recommend you do additional analysis by looking at its intrinsic valuation and using other relative valuation ratios like PEG or EV/EBITDA.

PE is one aspect of your portfolio construction to consider when holding or entering into a stock. But it is certainly not the only factor. Take a look at our most recent infographic report on CTI Industries for a more in-depth analysis of the stock to help you make a well-informed investment decision. Since we know a limitation of PE is it doesn’t properly account for growth, you can use our free platform to see my list of stocks with a high growth potential and see if their PE is still reasonable.


To help readers see pass 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.