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What Does Helen of Troy Limited’s (NASDAQ:HELE) P/E Ratio Tell You?

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Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll look at Helen of Troy Limited’s (NASDAQ:HELE) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Based on the last twelve months, Helen of Troy’s P/E ratio is 19.9. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 5.0%.

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Helen of Troy:

P/E of 19.9 = \$132.98 ÷ \$6.68 (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. 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

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company’s P/E multiple. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

It’s nice to see that Helen of Troy grew EPS by a stonking 40% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 20% per year over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

Does Helen of Troy Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (14) for companies in the consumer durables industry is lower than Helen of Troy’s P/E.

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Helen of Troy shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. 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.

Helen of Troy’s Balance Sheet

Helen of Troy’s net debt is 9.2% of its market cap. The market might award it a higher P/E ratio if it had net cash, but its unlikely this low level of net borrowing is having a big impact on the P/E multiple.

The Bottom Line On Helen of Troy’s P/E Ratio

Helen of Troy has a P/E of 19.9. That’s higher than the average in the US market, which is 18.2. Its debt levels do not imperil its balance sheet and its EPS growth is very healthy indeed. So to be frank we are not surprised it has a high P/E ratio.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.