Is National Presto Industries Inc’s (NYSE:NPK) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at National Presto Industries Inc’s (NYSE:NPK) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Based on the last twelve months, National Presto Industries’s P/E ratio is 19.9. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $19.9 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for National Presto Industries

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 National Presto Industries:

P/E of 19.9 = $125.23 ÷ $6.29 (Based on the year to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. 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. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

National Presto Industries shrunk earnings per share by 6.4% last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 6.0% per year over the last five years.

How Does National Presto Industries’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that National Presto Industries has a lower P/E than the average (21.9) P/E for companies in the aerospace & defense industry.

NYSE:NPK PE PEG Gauge December 7th 18
NYSE:NPK PE PEG Gauge December 7th 18

National Presto Industries’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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.

Is Debt Impacting National Presto Industries’s P/E?

National Presto Industries has net cash of US$183m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Verdict On National Presto Industries’s P/E Ratio

National Presto Industries trades on a P/E ratio of 19.9, which is above the US market average of 17.5. The recent drop in earnings per share might keep value investors away, but the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If fails to eventuate, the current high P/E could prove to be temporary, as the share price falls.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. Although we don’t have analyst forecasts, you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than National Presto Industries. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com.