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Should We Worry About Community Bankers Trust Corporation’s (NASDAQ:ESXB) P/E Ratio?

Alex Johannesen

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 Community Bankers Trust Corporation’s (NASDAQ:ESXB) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Community Bankers Trust has a P/E ratio of 17.55, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 5.7%.

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How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Community Bankers Trust:

P/E of 17.55 = $7.7 ÷ $0.44 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High P/E 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. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.’

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Community Bankers Trust shrunk earnings per share by 8.7% last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 15% per year over the last five years.

How Does Community Bankers Trust’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Community Bankers Trust has a higher P/E than the average (14.5) P/E for companies in the banks industry.

NasdaqCM:ESXB PE PEG Gauge January 21st 19

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Community Bankers Trust shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. 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. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

Is Debt Impacting Community Bankers Trust’s P/E?

Community Bankers Trust’s net debt is 31% of its market cap. This is enough debt that you’d have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Verdict On Community Bankers Trust’s P/E Ratio

Community Bankers Trust trades on a P/E ratio of 17.5, which is fairly close to the US market average of 17.1. When you consider the lack of EPS growth last year (along with some debt), it seems the market is optimistic about the future for the business.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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.

You might be able to find a better buy than Community Bankers Trust. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.