The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at DEUTZ Aktiengesellschaft's (ETR:DEZ) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. DEUTZ has a price to earnings ratio of 7.12, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay €7.12 for every €1 in trailing yearly profits.
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 DEUTZ:
P/E of 7.12 = €5.25 ÷ €0.74 (Based on the year to June 2019.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each €1 of company 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.
How Does DEUTZ'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. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (13.9) for companies in the machinery industry is higher than DEUTZ's P/E.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that DEUTZ shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Since the market seems unimpressed with DEUTZ, 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
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
DEUTZ shrunk earnings per share by 30% over the last year. But EPS is up 21% over the last 5 years.
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. 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).
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.
So What Does DEUTZ's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Since DEUTZ holds net cash of €23m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.
The Bottom Line On DEUTZ's P/E Ratio
DEUTZ trades on a P/E ratio of 7.1, which is below the DE market average of 19.3. Falling earnings per share are likely to be keeping potential buyers away, the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. If it achieves that, then there's real potential that the low P/E could eventually indicate undervaluation.
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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.
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 email@example.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.