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Here's How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand Polaris Inc. (NYSE:PII)

Simply Wall St

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Polaris Inc.'s (NYSE:PII) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Polaris has a price to earnings ratio of 16.74, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 6.0%.

See our latest analysis for Polaris

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Polaris:

P/E of 16.74 = $87.98 ÷ $5.26 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

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

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

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (16.9) for companies in the leisure industry is roughly the same as Polaris's P/E.

NYSE:PII Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 15th 2019

Polaris's P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. Further research into factors such as insider buying and selling, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

If earnings fall then in the future the 'E' will be lower. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others -- and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

Polaris increased earnings per share by a whopping 27% last year. In contrast, EPS has decreased by 2.7%, annually, over 5 years.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

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.

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.

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

Polaris's net debt equates to 33% of its market capitalization. You'd want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn't bother us.

The Bottom Line On Polaris's P/E Ratio

Polaris has a P/E of 16.7. That's around the same as the average in the US market, which is 17.5. With only modest debt levels, and strong earnings growth, the market seems to doubt that the growth can be maintained. Because analysts are predicting more growth in the future, one might have expected to see a higher P/E ratio. You can take a closer look at the fundamentals, here.

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 report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

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