Is PerkinElmer, Inc.’s (NYSE:PKI) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use PerkinElmer, Inc.’s (NYSE:PKI) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, PerkinElmer has a P/E ratio of 46.55. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $46.55 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for PerkinElmer

How Do You Calculate PerkinElmer’s P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for PerkinElmer:

P/E of 46.55 = $99.99 ÷ $2.15 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. That isn’t a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

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. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Notably, PerkinElmer grew EPS by a whopping 49% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 6.7% per year over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

Does PerkinElmer Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (36.5) for companies in the life sciences industry is lower than PerkinElmer’s P/E.

NYSE:PKI Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 15th 2019
NYSE:PKI Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 15th 2019

PerkinElmer’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.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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.

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 PerkinElmer’s P/E?

PerkinElmer’s net debt is 16% 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 PerkinElmer’s P/E Ratio

PerkinElmer trades on a P/E ratio of 46.6, which is above the US market average of 18.2. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is superb. So on this analysis a high P/E ratio seems reasonable.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than PerkinElmer. 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).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.