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Don't Sell Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) Before You Read This

Simply Wall St

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll show how you can use Newcrest Mining Limited's (ASX:NCM) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Newcrest Mining's P/E ratio is 41.91. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 2.4%.

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Check out our latest analysis for Newcrest Mining

How Do You Calculate Newcrest Mining's P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price (in reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Newcrest Mining:

P/E of 41.91 = $18.6 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, USD ) ÷ $0.44 (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 A$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

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Newcrest Mining's 55% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. Having said that, the average EPS growth over the last three years wasn't so good, coming in at 7.1%.

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

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Newcrest Mining has a significantly higher P/E than the average (11.9) P/E for companies in the metals and mining industry.

ASX:NCM Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 27th 2019

Newcrest Mining's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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.

So What Does Newcrest Mining's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals just 6.7% of Newcrest Mining's 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 Newcrest Mining's P/E Ratio

Newcrest Mining trades on a P/E ratio of 41.9, which is above the AU market average of 16.2. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is superb. So to be frank we are not surprised it has a high P/E ratio.

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 the key to an excellent investment decision.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Newcrest Mining. 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.