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Here's What Siebert Financial Corp.'s (NASDAQ:SIEB) P/E Ratio Is Telling Us

Simply Wall St

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 Siebert Financial Corp.'s (NASDAQ:SIEB) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Siebert Financial has a P/E ratio of 27.57, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 3.6%.

See our latest analysis for Siebert Financial

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Siebert Financial:

P/E of 27.57 = USD8.58 ÷ USD0.31 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each USD1 the company has earned over the last year. That isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Does Siebert Financial's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (36.1) for companies in the capital markets industry is higher than Siebert Financial's P/E.

NasdaqCM:SIEB Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 15th 2020

Siebert Financial's P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Siebert Financial, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

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. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

It's great to see that Siebert Financial grew EPS by 12% in the last year.

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. 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).

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

So What Does Siebert Financial's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

The extra options and safety that comes with Siebert Financial's US$4.2m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

The Bottom Line On Siebert Financial's P/E Ratio

Siebert Financial's P/E is 27.6 which is above average (18.9) in its market. Its strong balance sheet gives the company plenty of resources for extra growth, and it has already proven it can grow. Therefore it seems reasonable that the market would have relatively high expectations of the company

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. We don't have analyst forecasts, but shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Siebert Financial may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.