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 for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Ternium S.A.'s (NYSE:TX), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Ternium has a price to earnings ratio of 3.23, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying $3.23 for every $1 in prior year profit.
How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?
The formula for price to earnings is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Ternium:
P/E of 3.23 = $22.83 ÷ $7.06 (Based on the trailing twelve months 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 Does Ternium's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (10.8) for companies in the metals and mining industry is higher than Ternium's P/E.
Ternium'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.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
Ternium increased earnings per share by a whopping 44% last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 24%. So we'd generally expect it to have 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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.
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.
Is Debt Impacting Ternium's P/E?
Ternium's net debt equates to 41% of its market capitalization. While it's worth keeping this in mind, it isn't a worry.
The Bottom Line On Ternium's P/E Ratio
Ternium has a P/E of 3.2. That's below the average in the US market, which is 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.
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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
But note: Ternium 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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.