The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Shore Bancshares, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SHBI) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Shore Bancshares has a P/E ratio of 12.32, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying $12.32 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 = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Shore Bancshares:
P/E of 12.32 = $15.1 ÷ $1.23 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each $1 the company has earned over the last year. 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
Notably, Shore Bancshares grew EPS by a whopping 41% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 55% per year over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.
How Does Shore Bancshares’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Shore Bancshares has a lower P/E than the average (14.2) P/E for companies in the banks industry.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Shore Bancshares shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. 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.
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. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining 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).
How Does Shore Bancshares’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
Net debt totals 34% of Shore Bancshares’s market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you should absolutely keep in mind it has significant borrowings.
The Bottom Line On Shore Bancshares’s P/E Ratio
Shore Bancshares trades on a P/E ratio of 12.3, which is below the US market average of 16.9. 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. Given analysts are expecting further growth, one might have expected a higher P/E ratio. That may be worth further research.
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.’ So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold they key to an excellent investment decision.
You might be able to find a better buy than Shore Bancshares. 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).
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at email@example.com.