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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Orrstown Financial Services, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:ORRF) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Orrstown Financial Services has a P/E ratio of 14.74, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying $14.74 for every $1 in prior year profit.
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 Orrstown Financial Services:
P/E of 14.74 = $20.99 ÷ $1.42 (Based on the year to March 2019.)
Is A High P/E Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each $1 of company earnings. 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
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
It’s great to see that Orrstown Financial Services grew EPS by 18% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 2.0% annually, over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio.
Does Orrstown Financial Services 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, Orrstown Financial Services has a higher P/E than the average company (13) in the banks industry.
That means that the market expects Orrstown Financial Services 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.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet
It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. 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.
How Does Orrstown Financial Services’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
Orrstown Financial Services has net debt equal to 34% of its market cap. You’d want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn’t bother us.
The Bottom Line On Orrstown Financial Services’s P/E Ratio
Orrstown Financial Services’s P/E is 14.7 which is below average (18.3) in the US market. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low. Given analysts are expecting further growth, one might have expected a higher P/E ratio. That may be worth further research.
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.’ So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.
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 email@example.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.