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Don't Sell Omega Flex, Inc. (NASDAQ:OFLX) Before You Read This

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Simply Wall St
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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 Omega Flex, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:OFLX) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Omega Flex's P/E ratio is 62.69. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 1.6%.

Check out our latest analysis for Omega Flex

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Omega Flex:

P/E of 62.69 = $110.30 ÷ $1.76 (Based on the year to September 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each $1 of company earnings. 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.

Does Omega Flex Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Omega Flex has a higher P/E than the average (22.9) P/E for companies in the machinery industry.

NasdaqGM:OFLX Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 6th 2020
NasdaqGM:OFLX Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 6th 2020

Omega Flex'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 investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. 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. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Omega Flex's earnings per share fell by 4.5% in the last twelve months. But it has grown its earnings per share by 7.6% per year over the last five years.

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

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. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

Omega Flex's Balance Sheet

Since Omega Flex holds net cash of US$48m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Bottom Line On Omega Flex's P/E Ratio

Omega Flex's P/E is 62.7 which suggests the market is more focussed on the future opportunity rather than the current level of earnings. The recent drop in earnings per share would make some investors cautious, but the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If fails to eventuate, the current high P/E could prove to be temporary, as the share price falls.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. Although we don't have analyst forecasts you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Omega Flex may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.