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Should We Worry About Amalgamated Bank’s (NASDAQ:AMAL) P/E Ratio?

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 Amalgamated Bank’s (NASDAQ:AMAL) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Amalgamated Bank has a P/E ratio of 25.1, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 4.0%.

View our latest analysis for Amalgamated Bank

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 Amalgamated Bank:

P/E of 25.1 = $21.36 ÷ $0.85 (Based on the year to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

It’s nice to see that Amalgamated Bank grew EPS by a stonking 235% in the last year.

How Does Amalgamated Bank’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (15.8) for companies in the banks industry is lower than Amalgamated Bank’s P/E.

NasdaqGM:AMAL PE PEG Gauge December 2nd 18
NasdaqGM:AMAL PE PEG Gauge December 2nd 18

That means that the market expects Amalgamated Bank will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).

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.

Amalgamated Bank’s Balance Sheet

Amalgamated Bank’s net debt is 3.0% of its market cap. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.

The Bottom Line On Amalgamated Bank’s P/E Ratio

Amalgamated Bank’s P/E is 25.1 which is above average (18) in the US market. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and it is growing earnings per share. So it does not seem strange that the P/E is above average.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

But note: Amalgamated Bank 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.