This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to QCR Holdings, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:QCRH), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. QCR Holdings has a P/E ratio of 11.39, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying $11.39 for every $1 in prior year profit.
How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?
The formula for P/E is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for QCR Holdings:
P/E of 11.39 = $34.03 ÷ $2.99 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 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 is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.
How Does QCR Holdings'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. The image below shows that QCR Holdings has a lower P/E than the average (12.8) P/E for companies in the banks industry.
QCR Holdings'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. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.
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. 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. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.
QCR Holdings's earnings per share grew by -9.0% in the last twelve months. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 8.5% per year over the last five years.
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. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.
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.
QCR Holdings's Balance Sheet
QCR Holdings has net cash of US$7.7m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.
The Verdict On QCR Holdings's P/E Ratio
QCR Holdings trades on a P/E ratio of 11.4, which is below the US market average of 18. EPS was up modestly better over the last twelve months. And the net cash position gives the company many options. So it's strange that the low P/E indicates low expectations. Since analysts are predicting growth will continue, one might expect to see a higher P/E so it may be worth looking closer.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.
You might be able to find a better buy than QCR Holdings. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).
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.