Enerplus Corporation (TSX:ERF) is trading with a trailing P/E of 20.1x, which is higher than the industry average of 20.1x. While ERF might seem like a stock to avoid or sell if you own it, 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. View our latest analysis for Enerplus
What you need to know about the P/E ratio
P/E is a popular ratio used for relative valuation. By comparing a stock’s price per share to its earnings per share, we are able to see how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.
P/E Calculation for ERF
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
ERF Price-Earnings Ratio = CA$15.76 ÷ CA$0.785 = 20.1x
On its own, the P/E ratio doesn’t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful when you compare it with other similar companies. We want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar characteristics as ERF, such as size and country of operation. One way of gathering a peer group is to use firms in the same industry, which is what I’ll do. ERF’s P/E of 20.1x is higher than its industry peers (20.1x), which implies that each dollar of ERF’s earnings is being overvalued by investors. As such, our analysis shows that ERF represents an over-priced stock.
A few caveats
While our conclusion might prompt you to sell your ERF shares immediately, there are two important assumptions you should be aware of. The first is that our “similar companies” are actually similar to ERF, or else the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. For example, if you are comparing lower risk firms with ERF, then its P/E would naturally be lower than its peers, as investors would value those with lower risk at a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing ERF to are fairly valued by the market. If this does not hold true, ERF’s lower P/E ratio may be because firms in our peer group are overvalued by the market.
What this means for you:
Since you may have already conducted your due diligence on ERF, the overvaluation of the stock may mean it is a good time to reduce your current holdings. But at the end of the day, keep in mind that relative valuation relies heavily on critical assumptions I’ve outlined 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 ERF’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ERF’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has ERF 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 ERF’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 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.