Is Peyto Exploration & Development Corp.’s (TSE:PEY) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

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 Peyto Exploration & Development Corp.’s (TSE:PEY), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Peyto Exploration & Development has a P/E ratio of 6.05, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying CA$6.05 for every CA$1 in prior year profit.

See our latest analysis for Peyto Exploration & Development

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Peyto Exploration & Development:

P/E of 6.05 = CA$3.9 ÷ CA$0.64 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the ‘E’ in the equation. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

Peyto Exploration & Development shrunk earnings per share by 42% over the last year. And EPS is down 11% a year, over the last 5 years. This might lead to muted expectations.

How Does Peyto Exploration & Development’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

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 Peyto Exploration & Development has a lower P/E than the average (12.6) in the oil and gas industry classification.

TSX:PEY Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 13th 2019
TSX:PEY Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 13th 2019

This suggests that market participants think Peyto Exploration & Development will underperform other companies in its industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.

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

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. 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).

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

Is Debt Impacting Peyto Exploration & Development’s P/E?

Net debt totals a substantial 185% of Peyto Exploration & Development’s market cap. This level of debt justifies a relatively low P/E, so remain cognizant of the debt, if you’re comparing it to other stocks.

The Bottom Line On Peyto Exploration & Development’s P/E Ratio

Peyto Exploration & Development has a P/E of 6. That’s below the average in the CA market, which is 15. The P/E reflects market pessimism that probably arises from the lack of recent EPS growth, paired with significant leverage.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

But note: Peyto Exploration & Development 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.