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Should You Be Tempted To Sell Parker-Hannifin Corporation (NYSE:PH) At Its Current PE Ratio?

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to start learning about core concepts of fundamental analysis on practical examples from today’s market.

Parker-Hannifin Corporation (NYSE:PH) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 23.1, which is close to the industry average of 23. While this might not seem positive, 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 Parker-Hannifin

Breaking down the P/E ratio

NYSE:PH PE PEG Gauge September 30th 18

P/E is often used for relative valuation since earnings power is a chief 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 PH

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

PH Price-Earnings Ratio = $183.93 ÷ $7.976 = 23.1x

On its own, the P/E ratio doesn’t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful 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 PH, such as capital structure and profitability. One way of gathering a peer group is to use firms in the same industry, which is what I’ll do. Parker-Hannifin Corporation (NYSE:PH) trades on a trailing P/E of 23.1. This isn’t too far from the industry average (which is 23). This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 25 Machinery companies in US including Philly Shipyard, Hebron Technology and EnPro Industries. You can think of it like this: the market is suggesting that PH has similar prospects to its peers in the same industry.

Assumptions to watch out for

However, it is important to note that our examination of the stock is based on certain assumptions. Firstly, that our peer group contains companies that are similar to PH. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. Take, for example, the scenario where Parker-Hannifin 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. Of course, it is possible that the stocks we are comparing with PH are not fairly valued. So while we can reasonably surmise that it is optimistically valued relative to a peer group, it might be fairly valued, if the peer group is 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 PH. 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 highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

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