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Read This Before You Buy Teck Resources Limited (TSE:TECK.B) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Teck Resources Limited's (TSE:TECK.B) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Based on the last twelve months, Teck Resources's P/E ratio is 5.69. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 18%.

Check out our latest analysis for Teck Resources

How Do I Calculate Teck Resources's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Teck Resources:

P/E of 5.69 = CA$29.6 ÷ CA$5.2 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

Teck Resources increased earnings per share by an impressive 13% over the last twelve months. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 33%. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio.

How Does Teck Resources's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Teck Resources has a lower P/E than the average (15.3) P/E for companies in the metals and mining industry.

TSX:TECK.B Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 27th 2019

This suggests that market participants think Teck Resources will underperform other companies in its industry. 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 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 Teck Resources's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals 21% of Teck Resources'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 Teck Resources's P/E Ratio

Teck Resources has a P/E of 5.7. That's below the average in the CA market, which is 14.9. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

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.

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.