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Don’t Sell Universal Electronics Inc (NASDAQ:UEIC) Before You Read This

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Universal Electronics Inc’s (NASDAQ:UEIC) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Universal Electronics has a price to earnings ratio of 78.1, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 1.3%.

Check out our latest analysis for Universal Electronics

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Universal Electronics:

P/E of 78.1 = $34.36 ÷ $0.44 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 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 is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the ‘E’ decreases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others — and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

Universal Electronics shrunk earnings per share by 35% over the last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 26% per year over the last five years. This growth rate might warrant a below average P/E ratio.

How Does Universal Electronics’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below, Universal Electronics has a much higher P/E than the average company (13.2) in the consumer durables industry.

NasdaqGS:UEIC PE PEG Gauge November 21st 18

Universal Electronics’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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.

Universal Electronics’s Balance Sheet

Universal Electronics’s net debt is 13% of its market cap. That’s enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you’re comparing it to companies without debt.

The Bottom Line On Universal Electronics’s P/E Ratio

Universal Electronics has a P/E of 78.1. That’s significantly higher than the average in the US market, which is 17.9. With modest debt but no EPS growth in the last year, it’s fair to say the P/E implies some optimism about future earnings, from the market.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold they key to an excellent investment decision.

You might be able to find a better buy than Universal Electronics. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.