Do You Like Hawthorn Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWBK) At This P/E Ratio?

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 Hawthorn Bancshares, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:HWBK) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Hawthorn Bancshares’s P/E ratio is 13.29. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.5%.

See our latest analysis for Hawthorn Bancshares

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Hawthorn Bancshares:

P/E of 13.29 = $23.65 ÷ $1.78 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

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 a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

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. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others — and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

Notably, Hawthorn Bancshares grew EPS by a whopping 216% in the last year. In contrast, EPS has decreased by 1.9%, annually, over 5 years.

How Does Hawthorn Bancshares’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Hawthorn Bancshares has a P/E ratio that is roughly in line with the banks industry average (13.6).

NasdaqGS:HWBK Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 28th 2019
NasdaqGS:HWBK Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 28th 2019

That indicates that the market expects Hawthorn Bancshares will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. So if Hawthorn Bancshares actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. Further research into factors such asmanagement tenure, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

Is Debt Impacting Hawthorn Bancshares’s P/E?

Net debt totals 78% of Hawthorn Bancshares’s market cap. This is enough debt that you’d have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Bottom Line On Hawthorn Bancshares’s P/E Ratio

Hawthorn Bancshares’s P/E is 13.3 which is below average (17.7) in the US market. The company may have significant debt, but EPS growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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.’ We don’t have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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.