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Here's What Cambridge Bancorp's (NASDAQ:CATC) P/E Is Telling Us

Simply Wall St

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use Cambridge Bancorp's (NASDAQ:CATC) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. What is Cambridge Bancorp's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 14.05. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.1%.

Check out our latest analysis for Cambridge Bancorp

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Cambridge Bancorp:

P/E of 14.05 = $73.94 ÷ $5.26 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. All else being equal, it's better to pay a low price -- but as Warren Buffett said, 'It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.'

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. As you can see below, Cambridge Bancorp has a higher P/E than the average company (12.2) in the banks industry.

NasdaqCM:CATC Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 2nd 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Cambridge Bancorp 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.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Most would be impressed by Cambridge Bancorp earnings growth of 20% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 7.2% annually, over the last five years. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio.

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

It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. 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.

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.

How Does Cambridge Bancorp's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt is 27% of Cambridge Bancorp's market cap. While that's enough to warrant consideration, it doesn't really concern us.

The Bottom Line On Cambridge Bancorp's P/E Ratio

Cambridge Bancorp's P/E is 14 which is below average (17.3) in the US market. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. If it continues to grow, then the current low P/E may prove to be unjustified. Since analysts are predicting growth will continue, one might expect to see a higher P/E so it may be worth looking closer.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. 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 Cambridge Bancorp. 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.