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Don't Sell Lennox International Inc. (NYSE:LII) Before You Read This

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how Lennox International Inc.'s (NYSE:LII) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Lennox International has a price to earnings ratio of 30.18, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 3.3%.

View our latest analysis for Lennox International

How Do You Calculate Lennox International's P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Lennox International:

P/E of 30.18 = $267.85 ÷ $8.87 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E 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

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. 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.

It's great to see that Lennox International grew EPS by 22% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 18% annually, over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio.

How Does Lennox International'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, Lennox International has a higher P/E than the average company (17.8) in the building industry.

NYSE:LII Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 2nd 2019

Lennox International's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. 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 taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).

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).

Lennox International's Balance Sheet

Lennox International's net debt is 9.3% 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 Lennox International's P/E Ratio

Lennox International has a P/E of 30.2. That's higher than the average in the US market, which is 17.8. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is impressive. Therefore it seems reasonable that the market would have relatively high expectations of the company

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Lennox International. 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 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.