Don’t Sell Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO) Before You Read This

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 Tractor Supply Company’s (NASDAQ:TSCO), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Tractor Supply has a P/E ratio of 19.47, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 5.1%.

View our latest analysis for Tractor Supply

How Do You Calculate Tractor Supply’s P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Tractor Supply:

P/E of 19.47 = $91.450 ÷ $4.697 (Based on the trailing twelve months 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 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.

How Does Tractor Supply’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. As you can see below, Tractor Supply has a higher P/E than the average company (14.7) in the specialty retail industry.

NasdaqGS:TSCO Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 3rd 2020
NasdaqGS:TSCO Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 3rd 2020

That means that the market expects Tractor Supply will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

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. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. 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.

Tractor Supply increased earnings per share by 8.3% last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 12% per year over the last five years.

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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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).

While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

Is Debt Impacting Tractor Supply’s P/E?

Tractor Supply’s net debt is 2.9% of its market cap. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.

The Bottom Line On Tractor Supply’s P/E Ratio

Tractor Supply’s P/E is 19.5 which is above average (16.8) in its market. With debt at prudent levels and improving earnings, it’s fair to say the market expects steady progress in the future.

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. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than Tractor Supply. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.