Is Hilltop Holdings Inc.’s (NYSE:HTH) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

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The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Hilltop Holdings Inc.’s (NYSE:HTH), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Hilltop Holdings has a price to earnings ratio of 13.97, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.2%.

Check out our latest analysis for Hilltop Holdings

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 Hilltop Holdings:

P/E of 13.97 = $20.09 ÷ $1.44 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E 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

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. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Hilltop Holdings’s earnings per share grew by -6.4% in the last twelve months. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 2.1% per year over the last five years.

Does Hilltop Holdings Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. As you can see below, Hilltop Holdings has a higher P/E than the average company (12.7) in the banks industry.

NYSE:HTH Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 13th 2019
NYSE:HTH Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 13th 2019

Hilltop Holdings’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. 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. 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.

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).

How Does Hilltop Holdings’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Hilltop Holdings has net debt worth 80% of its market capitalization. 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 Hilltop Holdings’s P/E Ratio

Hilltop Holdings’s P/E is 14 which is below average (17.5) in the US market. The meaningful debt load is probably contributing to low expectations, even though it has improved earnings recently.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 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 be able to find a better stock than Hilltop Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.