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Should You Be Tempted To Sell PagSeguro Digital Ltd (NYSE:PAGS) At Its Current PE Ratio?

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to begin learning about how to value company based on its current earnings and what are the drawbacks of this method.

PagSeguro Digital Ltd (NYSE:PAGS) is trading with a trailing P/E of 40.8, which is higher than the industry average of 26.3. 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 deconstruct the P/E ratio and highlight what you need to be careful of when using the P/E ratio.

See our latest analysis for PagSeguro Digital

Breaking down the Price-Earnings ratio

NYSE:PAGS PE PEG Gauge October 15th 18

P/E is a popular ratio used for 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 PAGS

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

PAGS Price-Earnings Ratio = R$102.18 ÷ R$2.503 = 40.8x

The P/E ratio itself doesn’t tell you a lot; however, it becomes very insightful when you compare it with other similar companies. Our goal is to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to PAGS, 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. PAGS’s P/E of 40.8 is higher than its industry peers (26.3), which implies that each dollar of PAGS’s earnings is being overvalued by investors. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 25 IT companies in US including Steel Connect, Value Exchange International and Presidio. You could also say that the market is suggesting that PAGS 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 PAGS. If not, the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. Take, for example, the scenario where PagSeguro Digital Ltd 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 PAGS may not be fairly valued. Thus while we might conclude that it is richly valued relative to its peers, that could be explained by the peer group being 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 PAGS. 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 PAGS’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PAGS’s outlook.
  2. Financial Health: Are PAGS’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  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.