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Is Tompkins Financial Corporation's (NYSEMKT:TMP) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Simply Wall St

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The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Tompkins Financial Corporation's (NYSEMKT:TMP) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Tompkins Financial has a price to earnings ratio of 14.29, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.0%.

See our latest analysis for Tompkins Financial

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Tompkins Financial:

P/E of 14.29 = $76.97 ÷ $5.39 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 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 is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

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. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Tompkins Financial increased earnings per share by a whopping 56% last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 4.8%. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

How Does Tompkins Financial's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (13) for companies in the banks industry is lower than Tompkins Financial's P/E.

AMEX:TMP Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 5th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Tompkins Financial shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. 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 Tompkins Financial's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Tompkins Financial's net debt is 93% of its market cap. This is a reasonably significant level of debt -- all else being equal you'd expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.

The Bottom Line On Tompkins Financial's P/E Ratio

Tompkins Financial trades on a P/E ratio of 14.3, which is below the US market average of 17.9. While the EPS growth last year was strong, the significant debt levels reduce the number of options available to management. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.