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What Does Investar Holding Corporation’s (NASDAQ:ISTR) PE Ratio Tell You?

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to begin learning about how to value company based on its current earnings and what are the drawbacks of this method.

Investar Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:ISTR) is trading with a trailing P/E of 23.3, which is higher than the industry average of 17. Although some investors may see this as unappealing, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before making judgments. In this article, 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 Investar Holding

What you need to know about the P/E ratio

NasdaqGM:ISTR PE PEG Gauge October 17th 18

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 ISTR

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

ISTR Price-Earnings Ratio = $26.42 ÷ $1.136 = 23.3x

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 ISTR, 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. ISTR’s P/E of 23.3 is higher than its industry peers (17), which implies that each dollar of ISTR’s earnings is being overvalued by investors. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 25 Banks companies in US including CIB Marine Bancshares, Citizens Commerce Bancshares and Limestone Bancorp. You could also say that the market is suggesting that ISTR is a stronger business than the average comparable company.

Assumptions to watch out for

However, it is important to note that our examination of the stock is based on certain assumptions. Firstly, that our peer group contains companies that are similar to ISTR. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, Investar Holding Corporation could be growing more quickly than the companies we’re comparing it with. In that case it would deserve a higher P/E ratio. Of course, it is possible that the stocks we are comparing with ISTR are not fairly valued. Thus while we might conclude that it is richly valued relative to its peers, that could be explained by the peer group being undervalued.

What this means for you:

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 ISTR. 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. 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 ISTR’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ISTR’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has ISTR 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 ISTR’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 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com.