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Should We Worry About Pool Corporation’s (NASDAQ:POOL) P/E Ratio?

Walter Gay

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Pool Corporation’s (NASDAQ:POOL) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Pool has a price to earnings ratio of 26.13, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 3.8%.

See our latest analysis for Pool

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Pool:

P/E of 26.13 = $152 ÷ $5.82 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each $1 of company earnings. 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. 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.

It’s great to see that Pool grew EPS by 24% in the last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 21%. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio.

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

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below, Pool has a higher P/E than the average company (18.5) in the retail distributors industry.

NASDAQGS:POOL PE PEG Gauge February 19th 19

That means that the market expects Pool will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

How Does Pool’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 11% of Pool’s market cap. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Bottom Line On Pool’s P/E Ratio

Pool has a P/E of 26.1. That’s higher than the average in the US market, which is 17.2. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and it is growing earnings per share. So it is not surprising the market is probably extrapolating recent growth well into the future, reflected in the relatively high P/E ratio.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold they key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Pool 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. On rare occasion, data errors may occur. Thank you for reading.