Here’s How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand CDK Global, Inc. (NASDAQ:CDK)

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 CDK Global, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CDK), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. CDK Global has a P/E ratio of 23.9, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying $23.9 for every $1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for CDK Global

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for CDK Global:

P/E of 23.9 = $44.52 ÷ $1.86 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High P/E 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. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

Does CDK Global Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. If you look at the image below, you can see CDK Global has a lower P/E than the average (52.1) in the software industry classification.

NasdaqGS:CDK Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 6th 2019
NasdaqGS:CDK Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 6th 2019

This suggests that market participants think CDK Global will underperform 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. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

CDK Global shrunk earnings per share by 17% over the last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 5.6% per year over the last five years.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. 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.

CDK Global’s Balance Sheet

Net debt is 48% of CDK Global’s market cap. While it’s worth keeping this in mind, it isn’t a worry.

The Verdict On CDK Global’s P/E Ratio

CDK Global’s P/E is 23.9 which is above average (17.5) in its market. With a bit of debt, but a lack of recent growth, it’s safe to say the market is expecting improved profit performance from the company, in the next few years.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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.’ So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

But note: CDK Global 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. Thank you for reading.