U.S. Markets closed

Do You Know What Umpqua Holdings Corporation's (NASDAQ:UMPQ) P/E Ratio Means?

Simply Wall St

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll show how you can use Umpqua Holdings Corporation's (NASDAQ:UMPQ) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. What is Umpqua Holdings's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 11.77. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $11.77 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for Umpqua Holdings

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 Umpqua Holdings:

P/E of 11.77 = $16.63 ÷ $1.41 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 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. All else being equal, it's better to pay a low price -- but as Warren Buffett said, 'It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.'

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Most would be impressed by Umpqua Holdings earnings growth of 13% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 11% annually, over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio.

How Does Umpqua Holdings's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below Umpqua Holdings has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the banks industry, which is 12.7.

NasdaqGS:UMPQ Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 5th 2019

Its P/E ratio suggests that Umpqua Holdings shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. So if Umpqua Holdings actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. I inform my view byby checking management tenure and remuneration, among other things.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. 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).

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.

So What Does Umpqua Holdings's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals 24% of Umpqua Holdings's market cap. 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 Bottom Line On Umpqua Holdings's P/E Ratio

Umpqua Holdings has a P/E of 11.8. That's below the average in the US market, which is 17.4. The company hasn't stretched its balance sheet, and earnings 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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

But note: Umpqua Holdings 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 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. Thank you for reading.