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Don't Sell Amphenol Corporation (NYSE:APH) Before You Read This

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Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll look at Amphenol Corporation's (NYSE:APH) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Amphenol has a price to earnings ratio of 24.31, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 4.1%.

Check out our latest analysis for Amphenol

How Do You Calculate Amphenol's P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Amphenol:

P/E of 24.31 = $97.87 ÷ $4.03 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

In the last year, Amphenol grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 78% gain was both fast and well deserved. Even better, EPS is up 19% per year over three years. So we'd absolutely expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Amphenol has a higher P/E than the average (18.7) P/E for companies in the electronic industry.

NYSE:APH Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 2nd 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Amphenol shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

So What Does Amphenol's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Amphenol's net debt is 8.8% of its market cap. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.

The Verdict On Amphenol's P/E Ratio

Amphenol trades on a P/E ratio of 24.3, which is above the US market average of 18.2. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and its recent EPS growth is nothing short of stand-out. So on this analysis a high P/E ratio seems reasonable.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.' So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than Amphenol. 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).

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.