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Here's How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (NASDAQ:HBAN)

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The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use Huntington Bancshares Incorporated's (NASDAQ:HBAN) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Huntington Bancshares has a P/E ratio of 11. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 9.1%.

See our latest analysis for Huntington Bancshares

How Do You Calculate Huntington Bancshares's P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Huntington Bancshares:

P/E of 11 = $13.83 ÷ $1.26 (Based on the year to March 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 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. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Most would be impressed by Huntington Bancshares earnings growth of 10% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 12% annually, over the last five years. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio.

Does Huntington Bancshares 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 Huntington Bancshares has a lower P/E than the average (12.9) P/E for companies in the banks industry.

NasdaqGS:HBAN Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 4th 2019

Huntington Bancshares's P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

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

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. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

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 Huntington Bancshares's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 72% of Huntington Bancshares's market cap. This is enough debt that you'd have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Verdict On Huntington Bancshares's P/E Ratio

Huntington Bancshares trades on a P/E ratio of 11, which is below the US market average of 18.2. The company may have significant debt, but EPS growth was good last year. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

You might be able to find a better buy than Huntington Bancshares. 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.