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Here's What Republic First Bancorp, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:FRBK) 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 Republic First Bancorp, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:FRBK) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Republic First Bancorp's P/E ratio is 36.12. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 2.8%.

View our latest analysis for Republic First Bancorp

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Republic First Bancorp:

P/E of 36.12 = $5.34 ÷ $0.15 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

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 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

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

Republic First Bancorp shrunk earnings per share by 5.5% last year. But over the longer term (3 years), earnings per share have increased by 32%.

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

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 (12.9) for companies in the banks industry is lower than Republic First Bancorp's P/E.

NasdaqGM:FRBK Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 23rd 2019

That means that the market expects Republic First Bancorp will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

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.

Republic First Bancorp's Balance Sheet

Republic First Bancorp's net debt equates to 26% of its market capitalization. While that's enough to warrant consideration, it doesn't really concern us.

The Verdict On Republic First Bancorp's P/E Ratio

Republic First Bancorp has a P/E of 36.1. That's higher than the average in the US market, which is 18. With modest debt but no EPS growth in the last year, it's fair to say the P/E implies some optimism about future earnings, from the market.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 Republic First 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.