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Should We Worry About Clover Corporation Limited's (ASX:CLV) P/E Ratio?

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Clover Corporation Limited's (ASX:CLV), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. What is Clover's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 38.14. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 2.6%.

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share Ã· Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Clover:

P/E of 38.14 = A\$2.05 Ã· A\$0.054 (Based on the year to January 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each A\$1 the company has earned over the last year. That isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in 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. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. 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.

In the last year, Clover grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 54% gain was both fast and well deserved. And earnings per share have improved by 261% annually, over the last three years. So we'd absolutely expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. As you can see below, Clover has a higher P/E than the average company (26.7) in the chemicals industry.

That means that the market expects Clover will outperform other companies in its industry. 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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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 Clover's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Clover's net debt is 0.4% of its 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 Verdict On Clover's P/E Ratio

Clover's P/E is 38.1 which is above average (16.1) in the AU market. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and its recent EPS growth is nothing short of stand-out. So to be frank we are not surprised it has a high P/E ratio.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

But note: Clover 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).

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.