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Read This Before You Buy NORMA Group SE (ETR:NOEJ) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to NORMA Group SE's (ETR:NOEJ), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. NORMA Group has a P/E ratio of 15.71, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 6.4%.

Check out our latest analysis for NORMA Group

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price Ã· Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for NORMA Group:

P/E of 15.71 = EUR36.64 Ã· EUR2.33 (Based on the year to September 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each EUR1 the company has earned over the last year. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

Does NORMA Group Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. As you can see below NORMA Group has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the machinery industry, which is 16.4.

Its P/E ratio suggests that NORMA Group shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. Further research into factors such as insider buying and selling, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others -- and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

NORMA Group saw earnings per share decrease by 39% last year. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 5.9%. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 1.9% per year over the last three years. This might lead to low expectations.

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. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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).

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.

So What Does NORMA Group's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

NORMA Group has net debt equal to 36% of its market cap. While that's enough to warrant consideration, it doesn't really concern us.

The Verdict On NORMA Group's P/E Ratio

NORMA Group trades on a P/E ratio of 15.7, which is below the DE market average of 20.6. The debt levels are not a major concern, but the lack of EPS growth is likely weighing on sentiment.

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

You might be able to find a better buy than NORMA Group. 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).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.