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Is Tivity Health, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:TVTY) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

Kevin Zeng

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Tivity Health, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:TVTY) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Tivity Health’s P/E ratio is 12.67. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.9%.

Check out our latest analysis for Tivity Health

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Tivity Health:

P/E of 12.67 = $24.8 ÷ $1.96 (Based on the year to September 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Tivity Health increased earnings per share by an impressive 18% over the last twelve months. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 41%. With that performance, you might expect an above average P/E ratio.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see Tivity Health has a lower P/E than the average (19.7) in the healthcare industry classification.

NasdaqGS:TVTY PE PEG Gauge January 10th 19

Tivity Health’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

How Does Tivity Health’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals just 4.9% of Tivity Health’s market cap. So it doesn’t have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On Tivity Health’s P/E Ratio

Tivity Health’s P/E is 12.7 which is below average (16.8) in the US market. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. If it continues to grow, then the current low P/E may prove to be unjustified. Since analysts are predicting growth will continue, one might expect to see a higher P/E so it may be worth looking closer.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold they key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Tivity Health 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).

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.