U.S. Markets closed

Here's What Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:PEBK) P/E Ratio Is Telling Us

Simply Wall St

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

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 Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:PEBK) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina has a P/E ratio of 12.11. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 8.3%.

See our latest analysis for Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina:

P/E of 12.11 = $27.76 ÷ $2.29 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing 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.

How Does Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (12.9) for companies in the banks industry is roughly the same as Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina's P/E.

NasdaqGM:PEBK Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 10th 2019

That indicates that the market expects Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. 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

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. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

It's great to see that Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina grew EPS by 21% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 15% annually, over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio.

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

It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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 Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina's net debt is 13% of its market cap. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Verdict On Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina's P/E Ratio

Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina trades on a P/E ratio of 12.1, which is below the US market average of 18. 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.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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.' Although we don't have analyst forecasts, you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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.