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Should You Be Tempted To Sell Chemung Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CHMG) At Its Current PE Ratio?

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to learn about the link between company’s fundamentals and stock market performance.

Chemung Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CHMG) is trading with a trailing P/E of 23.8, which is higher than the industry average of 17. Though this might seem to be a negative, you might change your mind after I explain the assumptions behind the P/E ratio. In this article, I will explain what the P/E ratio is as well as what you should look out for when using it.

Demystifying the P/E ratio

The P/E ratio is one of many ratios used in relative valuation. By comparing a stock’s price per share to its earnings per share, we are able to see how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.

P/E Calculation for CHMG

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

CHMG Price-Earnings Ratio = \$41.9 ÷ \$1.757 = 23.8x

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 CHMG, such as capital structure and profitability. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. Since CHMG’s P/E of 23.8 is higher than its industry peers (17), it means that investors are paying more for each dollar of CHMG’s earnings. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 25 Banks companies in US including CIB Marine Bancshares, Citizens Commerce Bancshares and Limestone Bancorp. You could also say that the market is suggesting that CHMG is a stronger business than the average comparable company.

Assumptions to watch out for

However, it is important to note that our examination of the stock is based on certain assumptions. The first is that our “similar companies” are actually similar to CHMG. If not, the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. Take, for example, the scenario where Chemung Financial Corporation is growing profits more quickly than the average comparable company. In that case, the market may be correct to value it on a higher P/E ratio. We should also be aware that the stocks we are comparing to CHMG may not be fairly valued. Just because it is trading on a higher P/E ratio than its peers does not mean it must be overvalued. After all, the peer group could be undervalued.

What this means for you:

If your personal research into the stock confirms what the P/E ratio is telling you, it might be a good time to rebalance your portfolio and reduce your holdings in CHMG. But keep in mind that the usefulness of relative valuation depends on whether you are comfortable with making the assumptions I mentioned 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 urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

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