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Does Servotronics, Inc.'s (NYSEMKT:SVT) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

Simply Wall St

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use Servotronics, Inc.'s (NYSEMKT:SVT) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Servotronics has a P/E ratio of 7.56, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 13.2%.

Check out our latest analysis for Servotronics

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Servotronics:

P/E of 7.56 = $10.70 ÷ $1.41 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

How Does Servotronics's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see Servotronics has a lower P/E than the average (17.2) in the electrical industry classification.

AMEX:SVT Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 14th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Servotronics 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. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Notably, Servotronics grew EPS by a whopping 44% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 39% per year over the last five years. I'd therefore be a little surprised if its P/E ratio was not relatively high.

Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

How Does Servotronics's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Servotronics's net debt is 3.6% of its market cap. So it doesn't have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On Servotronics's P/E Ratio

Servotronics's P/E is 7.6 which is below average (18.2) in the US market. The company hasn't stretched its balance sheet, and earnings growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. Although we don't have analyst forecasts you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Servotronics may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.