Should You Be Tempted To Sell Opus Bank (NASDAQ:OPB) Because Of Its P/E Ratio?

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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 Opus Bank’s (NASDAQ:OPB) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Opus Bank has a P/E ratio of 27.57. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying $27.57 for every $1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Opus Bank

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 Opus Bank:

P/E of 27.57 = $21.15 ÷ $0.77 (Based on the year to March 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. 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

If earnings fall then in the future the ‘E’ will be lower. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

Opus Bank saw earnings per share decrease by 46% last year. And over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have decreased 32% annually. This could justify a pessimistic P/E.

How Does Opus Bank’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Opus Bank has a higher P/E than the average (12.7) P/E for companies in the banks industry.

NasdaqGS:OPB Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 19th 2019
NasdaqGS:OPB Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 19th 2019

That means that the market expects Opus Bank will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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

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.

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).

So What Does Opus Bank’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals just 5.4% of Opus Bank’s market cap. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.

The Bottom Line On Opus Bank’s P/E Ratio

Opus Bank’s P/E is 27.6 which is above average (17.9) in the US market. With some debt but no EPS growth last year, the market has high expectations of future profits.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Opus Bank 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.