Do You Know What KeyCorp’s (NYSE:KEY) P/E Ratio Means?

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 KeyCorp’s (NYSE:KEY) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. What is KeyCorp’s P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 9.73. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $9.73 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for KeyCorp

How Do I Calculate KeyCorp’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for KeyCorp:

P/E of 9.73 = $16.45 ÷ $1.69 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That isn’t necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

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

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that KeyCorp has a lower P/E than the average (12.3) P/E for companies in the banks industry.

NYSE:KEY Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 14th 2019
NYSE:KEY Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 14th 2019

KeyCorp’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company’s P/E multiple. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

It’s nice to see that KeyCorp grew EPS by a stonking 28% in the last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 10.0%. So we’d generally expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

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

KeyCorp has net debt worth 77% of its market capitalization. This is a reasonably significant level of debt — all else being equal you’d expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.

The Verdict On KeyCorp’s P/E Ratio

KeyCorp’s P/E is 9.7 which is below average (17.3) in the US market. While the EPS growth last year was strong, the significant debt levels reduce the number of options available to management. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low.

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

But note: KeyCorp 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.