Don’t Sell Carolina Trust BancShares, Inc. (NASDAQ:CART) Before You Read This

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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 Carolina Trust BancShares, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CART) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Carolina Trust BancShares has a P/E ratio of 21.18, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 4.7%.

See our latest analysis for Carolina Trust BancShares

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Carolina Trust BancShares:

P/E of 21.18 = $7.61 ÷ $0.36 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That isn’t a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

Does Carolina Trust BancShares Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Carolina Trust BancShares has a higher P/E than the average (12.9) P/E for companies in the banks industry.

NasdaqCM:CART Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 10th 2019
NasdaqCM:CART Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 10th 2019

That means that the market expects Carolina Trust BancShares will outperform other companies in its industry.

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. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Carolina Trust BancShares’s 116% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. Even better, EPS is up 16% per year over three years. So we’d absolutely expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on 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.

Is Debt Impacting Carolina Trust BancShares’s P/E?

Carolina Trust BancShares has net cash of US$19m. This is fairly high at 27% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

The Verdict On Carolina Trust BancShares’s P/E Ratio

Carolina Trust BancShares trades on a P/E ratio of 21.2, which is above its market average of 18. Its net cash position is the cherry on top of its superb EPS growth. To us, this is the sort of company that we would expect to carry an above average price tag (relative to earnings).

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, ‘In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.’ Although we don’t have analyst forecasts, you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Carolina Trust BancShares. 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.