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Here's What Daktronics, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:DAKT) P/E Is Telling Us

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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 Daktronics, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:DAKT) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Daktronics's P/E ratio is 55.13. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 1.8%.

Check out our latest analysis for Daktronics

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 Daktronics:

P/E of 55.13 = $7.45 ÷ $0.14 (Based on the year to January 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the 'E' in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

Daktronics's earnings per share fell by 42% in the last twelve months. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 33% per year over the last five years. This might lead to muted expectations.

How Does Daktronics'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 Daktronics has a higher P/E than the average (20.9) P/E for companies in the electronic industry.

NasdaqGS:DAKT Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 4th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Daktronics shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. 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.

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

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.

Is Debt Impacting Daktronics's P/E?

The extra options and safety that comes with Daktronics's US$71m 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 Daktronics's P/E Ratio

Daktronics's P/E is 55.1 which is way above average (17.7) in the US market. Falling earnings per share is probably keeping traditional value investors away, but the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. Clearly, the high P/E indicates shareholders think it will!

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than Daktronics. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.