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Is San Juan Basin Royalty Trust’s (NYSE:SJT) PE Ratio A Signal To Buy For Investors?

San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (NYSE:SJT) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 8.2x, which is lower than the industry average of 12.7x. While this makes SJT appear like a great stock to buy, you might change your mind after I explain the assumptions behind the P/E ratio. Today, I will break down what the P/E ratio is, how to interpret it and what to watch out for. Check out our latest analysis for San Juan Basin Royalty Trust

Breaking down the P/E ratio

The P/E ratio is one of many ratios used in relative valuation. By comparing a stock’s price per share to its earnings per share, we are able to see how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.

Formula

Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share

P/E Calculation for SJT

Price per share = \$6.86

Earnings per share = \$0.84

∴ Price-Earnings Ratio = \$6.86 ÷ \$0.84 = 8.2x

On its own, the P/E ratio doesn’t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful when you compare it with other similar companies. Ultimately, our goal is to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to SJT, such as company lifetime and products sold. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. Since it is expected that similar companies have similar P/E ratios, we can come to some conclusions about the stock if the ratios are different.

SJT’s P/E of 8.2x is lower than its industry peers (12.7x), which implies that each dollar of SJT’s earnings is being undervalued by investors. Therefore, according to this analysis, SJT is an under-priced stock.

Assumptions to be aware of

While our conclusion might prompt you to buy SJT immediately, there are two important assumptions you should be aware of. The first is that our peer group actually contains companies that are similar to SJT. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to some other factors. For example, if you are inadvertently comparing lower risk firms with SJT, then SJT’s P/E would naturally be lower than its peers, since investors would value those with lower risk with a higher price. The other possibility is if you were accidentally comparing higher growth firms with SJT. In this case, SJT’s P/E would be lower since investors would also reward its peers’ higher growth with a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing SJT to are fairly valued by the market. If this assumption does not hold true, SJT’s lower P/E ratio may be because firms in our peer group are being overvalued by the market.

What this means for you:

If your personal research into the stock confirms what the P/E ratio is telling you, it might be a good time to add more of SJT to your portfolio. But keep in mind that the usefulness of relative valuation depends on whether you are comfortable with making the assumptions I mentioned above. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

1. Financial Health: Is SJT’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
2. Past Track Record: Has SJT been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of SJT’s historicals for more clarity.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.