This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Escalade Incorporated’s (NASDAQ:ESCA) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Escalade has a P/E ratio of 6.99, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 14%.
How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?
The formula for price to earnings is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Escalade:
P/E of 6.99 = $11.81 ÷ $1.69 (Based on the trailing twelve months to October 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 isn’t a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. 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 nice to see that Escalade grew EPS by a stonking 140% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 5.7% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.
How Does Escalade’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. If you look at the image below, you can see Escalade has a lower P/E than the average (19.8) in the leisure industry classification.
This suggests that market participants think Escalade will underperform other companies in its industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Escalade, it’s quite possible it could surprise on the upside. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.
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. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.
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).
Escalade’s Balance Sheet
The extra options and safety that comes with Escalade’s US$11m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.
The Verdict On Escalade’s P/E Ratio
Escalade’s P/E is 7 which is below average (17.9) in the US market. The net cash position gives plenty of options to the business, and the recent improvement in EPS is good to see. The below average P/E ratio suggests that market participants don’t believe the strong growth will continue.
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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.
But note: Escalade 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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.