Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is National Presto Industries, Inc. (NYSE:NPK) Still Undervalued?

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 National Presto Industries, Inc.’s (NYSE:NPK), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Based on the last twelve months, National Presto Industries’s P/E ratio is 13.58. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.4%.

See our latest analysis for National Presto Industries

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 National Presto Industries:

P/E of 13.58 = $78.320 ÷ $5.769 (Based on the year to December 2019.)

(Note: the above calculation results may not be precise due to rounding.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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 Does National Presto Industries’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 National Presto Industries has a P/E ratio that is roughly in line with the aerospace & defense industry average (13.4).

NYSE:NPK Price Estimation Relative to Market April 8th 2020
NYSE:NPK Price Estimation Relative to Market April 8th 2020

National Presto Industries’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. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

If earnings fall then in the future the ‘E’ will be lower. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

National Presto Industries’s earnings per share were pretty steady over the last year. But EPS is up 5.4% over the last 5 years. And over the longer term (3 years) earnings per share have decreased 1.4% annually. So we might expect a relatively low P/E.

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. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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).

How Does National Presto Industries’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

With net cash of US$158m, National Presto Industries has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 29% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On National Presto Industries’s P/E Ratio

National Presto Industries’s P/E is 13.6 which is about average (13.0) in the US market. EPS was up modestly better over the last twelve months. And the healthy balance sheet means the company can sustain growth. But the P/E suggests shareholders have some doubts.

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. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than National Presto Industries. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.