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

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Opus Bank’s (NASDAQ:OPB) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Opus Bank has a price to earnings ratio of 26.59, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $26.59 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Opus Bank

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Opus Bank:

P/E of 26.59 = $22.82 ÷ $0.86 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E 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 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. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

Opus Bank shrunk earnings per share by 33% over the last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 37% per year over the last five years. This growth rate might warrant a below average P/E ratio.

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

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. As you can see below, Opus Bank has a higher P/E than the average company (13.6) in the banks industry.

NasdaqGS:OPB Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 5th 2019
NasdaqGS:OPB Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 5th 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 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

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. 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).

Opus Bank’s Balance Sheet

Since Opus Bank holds net cash of US$122m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

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

Opus Bank has a P/E of 26.6. That’s higher than the average in the US market, which is 17.7. The recent drop in earnings per share would make some investors cautious, but the net cash position means the company has time to improve: and the high P/E suggests the market thinks it will.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 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.