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Should We Worry About CONMED Corporation's (NASDAQ:CNMD) P/E Ratio?

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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 apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to CONMED Corporation's (NASDAQ:CNMD), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. CONMED has a price to earnings ratio of 73.83, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 1.4%.

Check out our latest analysis for CONMED

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 CONMED:

P/E of 73.83 = $81.85 ÷ $1.11 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

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 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

CONMED's earnings per share fell by 56% in the last twelve months. But it has grown its earnings per share by 12% per year over the last three years. And over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have decreased 2.2% annually. This might lead to muted expectations.

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

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that CONMED has a higher P/E than the average (40) P/E for companies in the medical equipment industry.

NasdaqGS:CNMD Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 13th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that CONMED 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.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

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 CONMED's P/E?

CONMED's net debt equates to 35% of its market capitalization. You'd want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn't bother us.

The Verdict On CONMED's P/E Ratio

CONMED's P/E is 73.8 which suggests the market is more focussed on the future opportunity rather than the current level of earnings. With modest debt but no EPS growth in the last year, it's fair to say the P/E implies some optimism about future earnings, from the market.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. 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.

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.