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Should You Be Tempted To Buy Culp Inc (NYSE:CULP) At Its Current PE Ratio?

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to learn about the link between company’s fundamentals and stock market performance.

Culp Inc (NYSE:CULP) trades with a trailing P/E of 17x, which is lower than the industry average of 20.2x. While CULP might seem like an attractive stock to buy, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. 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 Culp

Breaking down the Price-Earnings ratio

NYSE:CULP PE PEG Gauge October 8th 18

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 CULP

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

CULP Price-Earnings Ratio = $23 ÷ $1.352 = 17x

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 want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar characteristics as CULP, such as size and country of operation. One way of gathering a peer group is to use firms in the same industry, which is what I’ll do. Since CULP’s P/E of 17 is lower than its industry peers (20.2), it means that investors are paying less for each dollar of CULP’s earnings. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 24 Luxury companies in US including Kingold Jewelry, Vince Holding and Ever-Glory International Group. One could put it like this: the market is pricing CULP as if it is a weaker company than the average company in its industry.

A few caveats

Before you jump to conclusions it is important to realise that our assumptions rests on two assertions. The first is that our “similar companies” are actually similar to CULP, or else the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. For example, if you compared lower risk firms with CULP, then investors would naturally value it at a lower price since it is a riskier investment. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing CULP to are fairly valued by the market. If this does not hold, there is a possibility that CULP’s P/E is lower because our peer group is overvalued by the market.

What this means for you:

You may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock as a shareholder, so its current undervaluation could signal a good buying opportunity to increase your exposure to CULP. 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. 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 urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for CULP’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CULP’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has CULP 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 CULP’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. 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 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.