# Read This Before You Buy Nautilus Inc (NYSE:NLS) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Nautilus Inc’s (NYSE:NLS) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Based on the last twelve months, Nautilus’s P/E ratio is 18.07. That means that at current prices, buyers pay \$18.07 for every \$1 in trailing yearly profits.

### 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 Nautilus:

P/E of 18.07 = \$13.23 ÷ \$0.73 (Based on the year to September 2018.)

### Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

### How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the ‘E’ in the equation. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

Nautilus’s earnings per share fell by 27% in the last twelve months. And over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have decreased 5.6% annually. This could justify a pessimistic P/E.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (19.9) for companies in the leisure industry is higher than Nautilus’s P/E.

This suggests that market participants think Nautilus will underperform other companies in its industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. 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.

### Nautilus’s Balance Sheet

The extra options and safety that comes with Nautilus’s US\$35m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

### The Verdict On Nautilus’s P/E Ratio

Nautilus has a P/E of 18.1. That’s around the same as the average in the US market, which is 17.9. While the absence of growth in the last year is probably causing a degree of pessimism, the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company to weather a storm; so it isn’t very surprising to see that it has a P/E ratio close to the market average.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 Nautilus. 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.