Should We Worry About Carter Bank & Trust’s (NASDAQ:CARE) P/E Ratio?

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Carter Bank & Trust’s (NASDAQ:CARE) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Carter Bank & Trust has a P/E ratio of 48.91, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $48.91 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

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Check out our latest analysis for Carter Bank & Trust

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Carter Bank & Trust:

P/E of 48.91 = $19.77 ÷ $0.40 (Based on the trailing twelve months 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. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.’

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.

Carter Bank & Trust’s earnings made like a rocket, taking off 475% last year. On the other hand, the longer term performance is poor, with EPS down 17% per year over 5 years.

Does Carter Bank & Trust 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. As you can see below, Carter Bank & Trust has a much higher P/E than the average company (12.8) in the banks industry.

NasdaqGS:CARE Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 20th 2019
NasdaqGS:CARE Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 20th 2019

Carter Bank & Trust’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.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

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.

So What Does Carter Bank & Trust’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Carter Bank & Trust has net cash of US$188m. This is fairly high at 36% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

The Verdict On Carter Bank & Trust’s P/E Ratio

Carter Bank & Trust trades on a P/E ratio of 48.9, which is above the US market average of 17.7. Its net cash position is the cherry on top of its superb EPS growth. To us, this is the sort of company that we would expect to carry an above average price tag (relative to earnings).

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Carter Bank & Trust. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.