SEI Investments Co (NASDAQ:SEIC) is trading with a trailing P/E of 29.5x, which is higher than the industry average of 16.7x. While SEIC might seem like a stock to avoid or sell if you own it, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. Today, I will explain what the P/E ratio is as well as what you should look out for when using it. See our latest analysis for SEI Investments
What you need to know about the P/E ratio
The P/E ratio is a popular ratio used in relative valuation since earnings power is a key driver of investment value. 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 SEIC
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
SEIC Price-Earnings Ratio = $75.36 ÷ $2.557 = 29.5x
The P/E ratio isn’t a metric you view in isolation and only becomes useful when you compare it against other similar companies. We want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar characteristics as SEIC, such as size and country of operation. One way of gathering a peer group is to use firms in the same industry, which is what I’ll do. SEIC’s P/E of 29.5x is higher than its industry peers (16.7x), which implies that each dollar of SEIC’s earnings is being overvalued by investors. As such, our analysis shows that SEIC represents an over-priced stock.
Assumptions to watch out for
Before you jump to the conclusion that SEIC should be banished from your portfolio, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two assertions. Firstly, our peer group contains companies that are similar to SEIC. 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 SEIC, 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 SEIC to are fairly valued by the market. If this is violated, SEIC’s P/E may be lower than its peers as they are actually overvalued by investors.
To help readers see pass 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.