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Should We Worry About Monster Beverage Corporation's (NASDAQ:MNST) P/E Ratio?

Simply Wall St

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how Monster Beverage Corporation's (NASDAQ:MNST) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is Monster Beverage's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 29.29. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying $29.29 for every $1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Monster Beverage

How Do You Calculate Monster Beverage's P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Monster Beverage:

P/E of 29.29 = $58.64 ÷ $2.00 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 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.

Does Monster Beverage Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (28.7) for companies in the beverage industry is roughly the same as Monster Beverage's P/E.

NasdaqGS:MNST Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 18th 2019

Monster Beverage's P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. Further research into factors such as insider buying and selling, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

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 unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

It's great to see that Monster Beverage grew EPS by 18% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 18% per year over the last five years. With that performance, you might expect an above average P/E ratio.

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

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. 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.

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).

So What Does Monster Beverage's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

The extra options and safety that comes with Monster Beverage's US$1.3b net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

The Verdict On Monster Beverage's P/E Ratio

Monster Beverage trades on a P/E ratio of 29.3, which is above its market average of 18.2. Its net cash position supports a higher P/E ratio, as does its solid recent earnings growth. 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: Monster Beverage 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.