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Should You Be Tempted To Buy Ultralife Corporation (NASDAQ:ULBI) Because Of Its PE Ratio?

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to learn about the link between company’s fundamentals and stock market performance.

Ultralife Corporation (NASDAQ:ULBI) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 15.7x, which is lower than the industry average of 18.3x. While ULBI 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 explain what the P/E ratio is as well as what you should look out for when using it.

Check out our latest analysis for Ultralife

What you need to know about the P/E ratio

NasdaqGM:ULBI PE PEG Gauge September 4th 18
NasdaqGM:ULBI PE PEG Gauge September 4th 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 ULBI

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

ULBI Price-Earnings Ratio = $8.65 ÷ $0.552 = 15.7x

The P/E ratio isn’t a metric you view in isolation and only becomes useful when you compare it against other similar companies. Our goal is to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to ULBI, such as company lifetime and products sold. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. Since ULBI’s P/E of 15.7 is lower than its industry peers (18.3), it means that investors are paying less for each dollar of ULBI’s earnings. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 24 Electrical companies in US including Vivint Solar, Highpower International and Asia Pacific Wire & Cable. You can think of it like this: the market is suggesting that ULBI is a weaker business than the average comparable company.

Assumptions to watch out for

However, it is important to note that this conclusion is based on two key assumptions. Firstly, our peer group contains companies that are similar to ULBI. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, if you are comparing lower risk firms with ULBI, then its P/E would naturally be lower than its peers, as investors would value those with lower risk at a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing ULBI to are fairly valued by the market. If this does not hold true, ULBI’s lower P/E ratio may be because firms in our peer group are 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 ULBI. 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 ULBI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ULBI’s outlook.

  2. Past Track Record: Has ULBI 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 ULBI’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.