This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at W&T Offshore, Inc.’s (NYSE:WTI) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. W&T Offshore has a price to earnings ratio of 2.87, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 35%.
How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?
The formula for price to earnings is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for W&T Offshore:
P/E of 2.87 = $4.94 ÷ $1.72 (Based on the year to December 2018.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each $1 the company has earned over the last year. That isn’t necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.
Notably, W&T Offshore grew EPS by a whopping 210% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 21% annually, over the last five years. I’d therefore be a little surprised if its P/E ratio was not relatively high.
How Does W&T Offshore’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that W&T Offshore has a lower P/E than the average (12) P/E for companies in the oil and gas industry.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that W&T Offshore shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet
The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.
Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).
Is Debt Impacting W&T Offshore’s P/E?
W&T Offshore has net debt worth 87% of its market capitalization. This is a reasonably significant level of debt — all else being equal you’d expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.
The Verdict On W&T Offshore’s P/E Ratio
W&T Offshore has a P/E of 2.9. That’s below the average in the US market, which is 17.4. While the EPS growth last year was strong, the significant debt levels reduce the number of options available to management. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than W&T Offshore. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.