# Read This Before You Buy Total System Services, Inc. (NYSE:TSS) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

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 Total System Services, Inc.’s (NYSE:TSS) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Total System Services has a P/E ratio of 29.97, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 3.3%.

### How Do I Calculate Total System Services’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Total System Services:

P/E of 29.97 = \$95.01 ÷ \$3.17 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

### Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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. 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.

Total System Services maintained roughly steady earnings over the last twelve months. But it has grown its earnings per share by 21% per year over the last five years.

### How Does Total System Services’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. As you can see below Total System Services has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the it industry, which is 30.8.

Total System Services’s P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. So if Total System Services actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. Further research into factors such asmanagement tenure, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

### How Does Total System Services’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 20% of Total System Services’s 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 Bottom Line On Total System Services’s P/E Ratio

Total System Services’s P/E is 30 which is above average (17.7) in the US market. With modest debt but no EPS growth in the last year, it’s fair to say the P/E implies some optimism about future earnings, from the market.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

But note: Total System Services may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.