Does PC Connection, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CNXN) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to PC Connection, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CNXN), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. What is PC Connection’s P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 13.02. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $13.02 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for PC Connection

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 PC Connection:

P/E of 13.02 = $35.1 ÷ $2.7 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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 Does PC Connection’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. The image below shows that PC Connection has a lower P/E than the average (18.3) P/E for companies in the electronic industry.

NasdaqGS:CNXN Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 19th 2019
NasdaqGS:CNXN Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 19th 2019

PC Connection’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

It’s great to see that PC Connection grew EPS by 14% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 13% per year over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio.

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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

PC Connection’s Balance Sheet

Since PC Connection holds net cash of US$70m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Bottom Line On PC Connection’s P/E Ratio

PC Connection trades on a P/E ratio of 13, which is below the US market average of 17.2. It grew its EPS nicely over the last year, and the healthy balance sheet implies there is more potential for growth. One might conclude that the market is a bit pessimistic, given the low P/E ratio.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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

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.