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Is Kinross Gold Corporation's (TSE:K) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Simply Wall St

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 Kinross Gold Corporation's (TSE:K), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. What is Kinross Gold's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 33.29. That means that at current prices, buyers pay CA$33.29 for every CA$1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Kinross Gold

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price (in reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Kinross Gold:

P/E of 33.29 = USD4.51 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, USD ) ÷ USD0.14 (Based on the year to September 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 necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

Does Kinross Gold Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (17.5) for companies in the metals and mining industry is lower than Kinross Gold's P/E.

TSX:K Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 20th 2020

Kinross Gold's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. 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.

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 even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Kinross Gold shrunk earnings per share by 24% over the last year.

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

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. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

Kinross Gold's Balance Sheet

Kinross Gold has net debt worth 25% of its market capitalization. That's enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you're comparing it to companies without debt.

The Verdict On Kinross Gold's P/E Ratio

Kinross Gold trades on a P/E ratio of 33.3, which is above its market average of 15.8. With a bit of debt, but a lack of recent growth, it's safe to say the market is expecting improved profit performance from the company, in the next few years.

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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Kinross Gold 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.