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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 look at Essent Group Ltd.’s (NYSE:ESNT) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Essent Group has a price to earnings ratio of 7.94, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 13%.
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 Essent Group:
P/E of 7.94 = $40.98 ÷ $5.16 (Based on the year to September 2018.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each $1 of company earnings. 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
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.
It’s nice to see that Essent Group grew EPS by a stonking 70% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 37% annually, over the last five years. I’d therefore be a little surprised if its P/E ratio was not relatively high.
How Does Essent Group’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (15.5) for companies in the mortgage industry is higher than Essent Group’s P/E.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Essent Group shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.
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. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).
Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.
How Does Essent Group’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
Essent Group’s net debt is 0.04% of its market cap. So it doesn’t have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.
The Verdict On Essent Group’s P/E Ratio
Essent Group trades on a P/E ratio of 7.9, which is below the US market average of 16.8. The company hasn’t stretched its balance sheet, and earnings 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 should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold they 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.
To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.