This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Nexa Resources S.A.’s (NYSE:NEXA) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, Nexa Resources’s P/E ratio is 33.11. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $33.11 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.
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How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?
The formula for P/E is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Nexa Resources:
P/E of 33.11 = $8.59 ÷ $0.26 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each $1 of company earnings. 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
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 unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
Nexa Resources shrunk earnings per share by 27% over the last year. But EPS is up 109% over the last 5 years.
How Does Nexa Resources’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below, Nexa Resources has a much higher P/E than the average company (9.4) in the metals and mining industry.
Nexa Resources’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.
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. 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.
Nexa Resources’s Balance Sheet
Nexa Resources’s net debt is 19% of its market cap. 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 Nexa Resources’s P/E Ratio
Nexa Resources’s P/E is 33.1 which is above average (16.7) in the US market. With some debt but no EPS growth last year, the market has high expectations of future profits.
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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold they key to an excellent investment decision.
You might be able to find a better buy than Nexa Resources. 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 email@example.com.