Don’t Sell Emclaire Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:EMCF) Before You Read This

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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 Emclaire Financial Corp.’s (NASDAQ:EMCF) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Emclaire Financial has a P/E ratio of 17.98, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $17.98 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for Emclaire Financial

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 Emclaire Financial:

P/E of 17.98 = $31.1 ÷ $1.73 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Emclaire Financial’s earnings per share fell by 11% in the last twelve months.

How Does Emclaire Financial’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Emclaire Financial has a higher P/E than the average (13.5) P/E for companies in the banks industry.

NasdaqCM:EMCF Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 21st 2019
NasdaqCM:EMCF Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 21st 2019

That means that the market expects Emclaire Financial will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

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

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).

Is Debt Impacting Emclaire Financial’s P/E?

Emclaire Financial has net debt worth 33% of its market capitalization. This is a reasonably significant level of debt — all else being equal you’d expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.

The Bottom Line On Emclaire Financial’s P/E Ratio

Emclaire Financial has a P/E of 18. That’s around the same as the average in the US market, which is 17.4. Given it has some debt, but didn’t grow last year, the P/E indicates the market is expecting higher profits ahead for the business.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. Although we don’t have analyst forecasts, shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Emclaire 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).

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.