# Does Parker-Hannifin Corporation’s (NYSE:PH) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Parker-Hannifin Corporation’s (NYSE:PH) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Parker-Hannifin has a P/E ratio of 18.87, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying \$18.87 for every \$1 in prior year profit.

### How Do You Calculate Parker-Hannifin’s P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Parker-Hannifin:

P/E of 18.87 = \$163.54 ÷ \$8.67 (Based on the trailing twelve months 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 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. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Parker-Hannifin increased earnings per share by 9.1% last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 2.5% per year over the last five years.

### How Does Parker-Hannifin’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (19.2) for companies in the machinery industry is roughly the same as Parker-Hannifin’s P/E.

Parker-Hannifin’s P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. Further research into factors such asmanagement tenure, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

### A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

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.

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.

### Is Debt Impacting Parker-Hannifin’s P/E?

Parker-Hannifin has net debt worth 19% of its market capitalization. This could bring some additional risk, and reduce the number of investment options for management; worth remembering if you compare its P/E to businesses without debt.

### The Verdict On Parker-Hannifin’s P/E Ratio

Parker-Hannifin has a P/E of 18.9. That’s around the same as the average in the US market, which is 17.9. When you consider the modest EPS growth last year (along with some debt), it seems the market thinks the growth is sustainable.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

But note: Parker-Hannifin 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).

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.