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Should You Be Tempted To Sell Aptiv PLC (NYSE:APTV) Because Of Its P/E Ratio?

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 Aptiv PLC’s (NYSE:APTV) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Aptiv has a P/E ratio of 20.35, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying $20.35 for every $1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Aptiv

How Do You Calculate Aptiv’s P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Aptiv:

P/E of 20.35 = $82.14 ÷ $4.04 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

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 isn’t a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

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. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Aptiv increased earnings per share by 8.9% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 5.3% annually, over the last three years. But earnings per share are down 3.0% per year over the last five years.

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

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Aptiv has a higher P/E than the average (13.2) P/E for companies in the auto components industry.

NYSE:APTV Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 8th 2019

That means that the market expects Aptiv will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

Aptiv’s Balance Sheet

Aptiv has net debt worth 18% of its market capitalization. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Bottom Line On Aptiv’s P/E Ratio

Aptiv has a P/E of 20.4. That’s higher than the average in the US market, which is 17.4. With debt at prudent levels and improving earnings, it’s fair to say the market expects steady progress in the future.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 the key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Aptiv 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.