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Does First Busey Corporation’s (NASDAQ:BUSE) PE Ratio Signal A Selling Opportunity?

Ricardo Crouch

First Busey Corporation (NASDAQ:BUSE) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 19.9x, which is higher than the industry average of 16.9x. While this makes BUSE appear like a stock to avoid or sell if you own it, you might change your mind after I explain the assumptions behind the P/E ratio. Today, I will explain what the P/E ratio is as well as what you should look out for when using it. See our latest analysis for First Busey

Breaking down the Price-Earnings ratio

NasdaqGS:BUSE PE PEG Gauge May 17th 18
NasdaqGS:BUSE PE PEG Gauge May 17th 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 BUSE

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

BUSE Price-Earnings Ratio = $30.55 ÷ $1.533 = 19.9x

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 preferably want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar features to BUSE, such as capital structure and profitability. A common peer group is companies that exist in the same industry, which is what I use. At 19.9x, BUSE’s P/E is higher than its industry peers (16.9x). This implies that investors are overvaluing each dollar of BUSE’s earnings. Therefore, according to this analysis, BUSE is an over-priced stock.

Assumptions to be aware of

Before you jump to the conclusion that BUSE should be banished from your portfolio, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two assertions. The first is that our “similar companies” are actually similar to BUSE, or else the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. For example, if you are comparing lower risk firms with BUSE, 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 BUSE to are fairly valued by the market. If this is violated, BUSE’s P/E may be lower than its peers as they are actually overvalued by investors.

What this means for you:

Since you may have already conducted your due diligence on BUSE, 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:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for BUSE’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BUSE’s outlook.

  2. Past Track Record: Has BUSE 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 BUSE’s historicals for more clarity.

  3. 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.