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Is Standard AVB Financial Corp.'s (NASDAQ:STND) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Simply Wall St

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how Standard AVB Financial Corp.'s (NASDAQ:STND) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Standard AVB Financial has a price to earnings ratio of 14.98, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying $14.98 for every $1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Standard AVB Financial

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 Standard AVB Financial:

P/E of 14.98 = $27.11 ÷ $1.81 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 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 $1 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 Standard AVB Financial 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. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (14.4) for companies in the mortgage industry is roughly the same as Standard AVB Financial's P/E.

NasdaqCM:STND Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 3rd 2019

Standard AVB Financial's P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. So if Standard AVB Financial actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

Standard AVB Financial saw earnings per share improve by -4.1% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 10% annually, over the last five years.

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

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

Is Debt Impacting Standard AVB Financial's P/E?

Standard AVB Financial's net debt is 72% of its market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you should absolutely keep in mind it has significant borrowings.

The Bottom Line On Standard AVB Financial's P/E Ratio

Standard AVB Financial trades on a P/E ratio of 15.0, which is below the US market average of 17.4. While the recent EPS growth is a positive, the significant amount of debt on the balance sheet may be contributing to pessimistic market expectations.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Standard AVB Financial may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio 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.