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 Arrow Financial Corporation’s (NASDAQ:AROW) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Arrow Financial has a price to earnings ratio of 13.91, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $13.91 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.
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 Arrow Financial:
P/E of 13.91 = USD34.89 ÷ USD2.51 (Based on the year to December 2019.)
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 Arrow Financial’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (12.6) for companies in the banks industry is lower than Arrow Financial’s P/E.
Arrow Financial’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.
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. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
Arrow Financial increased earnings per share by 2.6% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 9.2% annually, over the last five years.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.
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.
Arrow Financial’s Balance Sheet
Arrow Financial’s net debt equates to 31% of its market capitalization. While that’s enough to warrant consideration, it doesn’t really concern us.
The Bottom Line On Arrow Financial’s P/E Ratio
Arrow Financial trades on a P/E ratio of 13.9, which is below the US market average of 18.2. EPS grew over the last twelve months, and debt levels are quite reasonable. If growth is sustainable over the long term, then the current P/E ratio may be a sign of good value.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.
But note: Arrow Financial 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).
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.