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Is Southside Bancshares Inc’s (NASDAQ:SBSI) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Southside Bancshares Inc’s (NASDAQ:SBSI) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Southside Bancshares has a P/E ratio of 15.8, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $15.8 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

View our latest analysis for Southside Bancshares

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Southside Bancshares:

P/E of 15.8 = $31.04 ÷ $1.96 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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. 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.

Southside Bancshares’s earnings per share grew by -2.1% in the last twelve months. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 4.3%.

How Does Southside Bancshares’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (15.7) for companies in the banks industry is roughly the same as Southside Bancshares’s P/E.

NasdaqGS:SBSI PE PEG Gauge December 5th 18

Southside Bancshares’s P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. I inform my view byby checking management tenure and remuneration, among other things.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. 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 taking on debt (or spending its remaining 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.

How Does Southside Bancshares’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Southside Bancshares has net debt worth 46% of its market capitalization. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you should absolutely keep in mind it has significant borrowings.

The Verdict On Southside Bancshares’s P/E Ratio

Southside Bancshares’s P/E is 15.8 which is below average (18) in the US market. The company hasn’t stretched its balance sheet, and earnings are improving. If you believe growth will continue – or even increase – then the low P/E may signify opportunity.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 they key to an excellent investment decision.

You might be able to find a better buy than Southside Bancshares. 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).

To help readers see past 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. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.