# Should You Sell The Home Depot Inc (HD) At This PE Ratio?

The Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) is trading with a trailing P/E of 24.4x, which is higher than the industry average of 16.3x. While HD might seem like a stock to avoid or sell if you own it, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. Today, I will break down what the P/E ratio is, how to interpret it and what to watch out for. See our latest analysis for HD

### What you need to know about the P/E ratio

The P/E ratio is a popular ratio used in relative valuation since earnings power is a key driver of investment value. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.

P/E Calculation for HD

Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share

HD Price-Earnings Ratio = \$176.57 ÷ \$7.223 = 24.4x

The P/E ratio isn’t a metric you view in isolation and only becomes useful when you compare it against other similar companies. We preferably want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar features to HD, such as capital structure and profitability. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. HD’s P/E of 24.4x is higher than its industry peers (16.3x), which implies that each dollar of HD’s earnings is being overvalued by investors. Therefore, according to this analysis, HD is an over-priced stock.

### Assumptions to watch out for

Before you jump to the conclusion that HD should be banished from your portfolio, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two assertions. Firstly, our peer group contains companies that are similar to HD. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, if you compared higher growth firms with HD, then its P/E would naturally be lower since investors would reward its peers’ higher growth with a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing HD to are fairly valued by the market. If this is violated, HD’s P/E may be lower than its peers as they are actually overvalued by investors.

### What this means for you:

Are you a shareholder? You may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock as a shareholder, so its current overvaluation could signal a potential selling opportunity to reduce your exposure to HD. Now that you understand the ins and outs of the PE metric, you should know to bear in mind its limitations before you make an investment decision.

Are you a potential investor? If HD has been on your watch list for a while, it is best you also consider its intrinsic valuation. Looking at PE on its own will not give you the full picture of the stock as an investment, so I suggest you should also look at other relative valuation metrics like EV/EBITDA or PEG.

PE is one aspect of your portfolio construction to consider when holding or entering into a stock. But it is certainly not the only factor. Take a look at our most recent infographic report on Home Depot for a more in-depth analysis of the stock to help you make a well-informed investment decision. Since we know a limitation of PE is it doesn’t properly account for growth, you can use our free platform to see my list of stocks with a high growth potential and see if their PE is still reasonable.

To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.