Should You Be Tempted To Sell NVE Corporation (NASDAQ:NVEC) Because Of Its P/E Ratio?

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how NVE Corporation’s (NASDAQ:NVEC) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, NVE’s P/E ratio is 23.51. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying $23.51 for every $1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for NVE

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for NVE:

P/E of 23.51 = $70.42 ÷ $3 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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 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. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

NVE’s earnings per share grew by -4.2% in the last twelve months. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 5.5% per year over the last five years.

How Does NVE’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (21.9) for companies in the semiconductor industry is roughly the same as NVE’s P/E.

NasdaqCM:NVEC Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 13th 2019
NasdaqCM:NVEC Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 13th 2019

Its P/E ratio suggests that NVE shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. So if NVE actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. Checking factors such as the tenure of the board and management could help you form your own view on if that will happen.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

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.

So What Does NVE’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

The extra options and safety that comes with NVE’s US$19m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

The Verdict On NVE’s P/E Ratio

NVE has a P/E of 23.5. That’s higher than the average in the US market, which is 17.5. EPS was up modestly better over the last twelve months. And the healthy balance sheet means the company can sustain growth while the P/E suggests shareholders think it will.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

You might be able to find a better buy than NVE. 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.