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# Here’s What Eagle Materials Inc.’s (NYSE:EXP) P/E Ratio Is Telling Us

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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Eagle Materials Inc.’s (NYSE:EXP) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Eagle Materials’s P/E ratio is 14.86. That means that at current prices, buyers pay \$14.86 for every \$1 in trailing yearly profits.

### 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 Eagle Materials:

P/E of 14.86 = \$73.37 ÷ \$4.94 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

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

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each \$1 of company earnings. 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

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Eagle Materials saw earnings per share decrease by 7.2% last year. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 16%.

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

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Eagle Materials has a lower P/E than the average (20.5) P/E for companies in the basic materials industry.

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Eagle Materials shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. 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.

### Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

### Is Debt Impacting Eagle Materials’s P/E?

Eagle Materials has net debt worth 18% of its market capitalization. That’s enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you’re comparing it to companies without debt.

### The Verdict On Eagle Materials’s P/E Ratio

Eagle Materials has a P/E of 14.9. That’s below the average in the US market, which is 17. Since it only carries a modest debt load, it’s likely the low expectations implied by the P/E ratio arise from the lack of recent earnings growth.

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

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.

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.