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Is Peoples Bancorp Inc.'s (NASDAQ:PEBO) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

Simply Wall St

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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how Peoples Bancorp Inc.'s (NASDAQ:PEBO) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Peoples Bancorp has a P/E ratio of 13, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.7%.

Check out our latest analysis for Peoples Bancorp

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Peoples Bancorp:

P/E of 13 = $31.49 ÷ $2.42 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E 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 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. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Peoples Bancorp increased earnings per share by an impressive 14% over the last twelve months. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 14%. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio.

How Does Peoples Bancorp's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. As you can see below Peoples Bancorp has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the banks industry, which is 13.

NasdaqGS:PEBO Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 2nd 2019

That indicates that the market expects Peoples Bancorp will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. So if Peoples Bancorp actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. Further research into factors such asmanagement tenure, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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.

Peoples Bancorp's Balance Sheet

Peoples Bancorp's net debt is 66% of its market cap. This is a reasonably significant level of debt -- all else being equal you'd expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.

The Bottom Line On Peoples Bancorp's P/E Ratio

Peoples Bancorp's P/E is 13 which is below average (17.8) in the US market. While the EPS growth last year was strong, the significant debt levels reduce the number of options available to management. If it continues to grow, then the current low P/E may prove to be unjustified.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 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 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.