Should You Be Tempted To Sell Brady Corporation (NYSE:BRC) Because Of Its P/E Ratio?

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 Brady Corporation’s (NYSE:BRC) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Brady has a price to earnings ratio of 24.87, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 4.0%.

View our latest analysis for Brady

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 Brady:

P/E of 24.87 = $45.56 ÷ $1.83 (Based on the year to October 2018.)

Is A High P/E 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

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. 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.

Brady saw earnings per share decrease by 4.3% last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 68% per year over the last five years.

How Does Brady’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 Brady has a higher P/E than the average (18.5) P/E for companies in the commercial services industry.

NYSE:BRC PE PEG Gauge January 10th 19
NYSE:BRC PE PEG Gauge January 10th 19

That means that the market expects Brady will outperform other companies in its industry. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. So investors 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

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. 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 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 Brady’s P/E?

Brady has net cash of US$138m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Bottom Line On Brady’s P/E Ratio

Brady trades on a P/E ratio of 24.9, which is above the US market average of 16.8. Falling earnings per share is probably keeping traditional value investors away, but the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. Clearly, the high P/E indicates shareholders think it will!

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 report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Brady. 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.