# Read This Before You Buy Principal Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:PFG) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

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 Principal Financial Group, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:PFG), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Based on the last twelve months, Principal Financial Group’s P/E ratio is 10.86. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 9.2%.

### How Do I Calculate Principal Financial Group’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Principal Financial Group:

P/E of 10.86 = \$60.58 ÷ \$5.58 (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 is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

### Does Principal Financial Group Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see Principal Financial Group has a lower P/E than the average (17.5) in the insurance industry classification.

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Principal Financial Group shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification.

### 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. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Principal Financial Group saw earnings per share decrease by 32% last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 11% per year over the last five years.

### Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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 Principal Financial Group’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals just 1.9% of Principal Financial Group’s 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 Verdict On Principal Financial Group’s P/E Ratio

Principal Financial Group trades on a P/E ratio of 10.9, which is below the US market average of 18.1. The debt levels are not a major concern, but the lack of EPS growth is likely weighing on sentiment.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.