The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 10.1x, which is lower than the industry average of 14.4x. While this makes ALL appear like a great stock to buy, you might change your mind after I explain the assumptions behind the P/E ratio. In this article, I will break down what the P/E ratio is, how to interpret it and what to watch out for. Check out our latest analysis for Allstate
Breaking down 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 ALL
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
ALL Price-Earnings Ratio = $94.25 ÷ $9.337 = 10.1x
The P/E ratio itself doesn’t tell you a lot; however, it becomes very insightful when you compare it with other similar companies. We preferably want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar features to ALL, such as capital structure and profitability. One way of gathering a peer group is to use firms in the same industry, which is what I’ll do. At 10.1x, ALL’s P/E is lower than its industry peers (14.4x). This implies that investors are undervaluing each dollar of ALL’s earnings. As such, our analysis shows that ALL represents an under-priced stock.
Assumptions to watch out for
Before you jump to the conclusion that ALL is the perfect buying opportunity, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two assertions. Firstly, our peer group contains companies that are similar to ALL. 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 ALL, 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 ALL to are fairly valued by the market. If this does not hold, there is a possibility that ALL’s P/E is lower because our peer group is overvalued by the market.
What this means for you:
Since you may have already conducted your due diligence on ALL, the undervaluation of the stock may mean it is a good time to top up on your current holdings. But at the end of the day, keep in mind that relative valuation relies heavily on critical assumptions I’ve outlined above. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for ALL’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ALL’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has ALL been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of ALL’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
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.