Read This Before You Buy Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:DNKN) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:DNKN) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, Dunkin’ Brands Group’s P/E ratio is 14.77. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 6.8%.

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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 Dunkin’ Brands Group:

P/E of 14.77 = $67.47 ÷ $4.57 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each $1 the company has earned over the last year. 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. 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.

Notably, Dunkin’ Brands Group grew EPS by a whopping 116% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 26% annually, over the last five years. So we’d generally expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

How Does Dunkin’ Brands Group’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 (16.7) for companies in the hospitality industry is higher than Dunkin’ Brands Group’s P/E.

NasdaqGS:DNKN PE PEG Gauge January 18th 19
NasdaqGS:DNKN PE PEG Gauge January 18th 19

This suggests that market participants think Dunkin’ Brands Group will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

How Does Dunkin’ Brands Group’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 49% of Dunkin’ Brands Group’s market cap. This is enough debt that you’d have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Verdict On Dunkin’ Brands Group’s P/E Ratio

Dunkin’ Brands Group has a P/E of 14.8. That’s below the average in the US market, which is 16.8. The company hasn’t stretched its balance sheet, and earnings growth was good last year. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

You might be able to find a better buy than Dunkin’ Brands Group. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.