Stock Analysis

# Does Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE:COG) Have A Good P/E Ratio?

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The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation's (NYSE:COG), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Cabot Oil & Gas has a P/E ratio of 8.79, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay \$8.79 for every \$1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for Cabot Oil & Gas

### How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Cabot Oil & Gas:

P/E of 8.79 = \$16.85 ÷ \$1.92 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

### 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 is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

### How Does Cabot Oil & Gas's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Cabot Oil & Gas has a lower P/E than the average (10.5) P/E for companies in the oil and gas industry.

This suggests that market participants think Cabot Oil & Gas will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

### How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. 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. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Cabot Oil & Gas's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 266% last year.

### 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. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

### So What Does Cabot Oil & Gas's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Cabot Oil & Gas has net debt worth 17% of its market capitalization. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

### The Bottom Line On Cabot Oil & Gas's P/E Ratio

Cabot Oil & Gas's P/E is 8.8 which is below average (18.8) in the US market. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low.

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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.