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Read This Before You Buy Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (NASDAQ:CTRP) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

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 Ctrip.com International, Ltd.'s (NASDAQ:CTRP) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is Ctrip.com International's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 30.16. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 3.3%.

View our latest analysis for Ctrip.com International

How Do I Calculate Ctrip.com International's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price (in reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Ctrip.com International:

P/E of 30.16 = CN¥256.31 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, CNY ) ÷ CN¥8.5 (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. 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 Ctrip.com International's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see Ctrip.com International has a lower P/E than the average (34.3) in the online retail industry classification.

NasdaqGS:CTRP Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 15th 2019

This suggests that market participants think Ctrip.com International will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. 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

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. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Ctrip.com International increased earnings per share by a whopping 44% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 19% annually, over the last five years. So we'd generally expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

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. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

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).

Ctrip.com International's Balance Sheet

Net debt totals just 4.2% of Ctrip.com International's market cap. The market might award it a higher P/E ratio if it had net cash, but its unlikely this low level of net borrowing is having a big impact on the P/E multiple.

The Verdict On Ctrip.com International's P/E Ratio

Ctrip.com International has a P/E of 30.2. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 18. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and its recent EPS growth is nothing short of stand-out. So to be frank we are not surprised it has a high P/E ratio.

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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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.