Assuming, you the investor is interested in buying shares in the banking space, you have about 100,000 to invest and you want to buy the best stock that will give you the greatest return at the lowest price. You have two banks in your investment universe; you prefer Bank A and Bank Z. Bank A sells each share for N10 and Bank Z sell each for N5
|Share||Market Price N:K|
Which would you buy? Well that easy, I would buy Bank A why? because it is cheaper. With N100,000 I can buy more shares of Bank A than Bank Z.
Hold on, not so fast.
The market price of any stock relates to the expected future earnings of that stock. For instance, Bank A’s share price of N10 means the Present Value of the sum of expected earnings that will accrue to Bank A over the life of earnings is N10. Hence you cannot simply compare the price of Bank A to the price of Bank Z, you must compare Earnings of both banks to determine which is “cheaper”.
So, to compare earnings, we use a ratio called the Price to Earnings Ratio (P.E.). Earning here is the earnings per share, which means we divide total earning by issued shares. Again, we assume a total of 1m shares issued by both banks. To calculate PE, first get earnings per share, so if bank A posted earnings of 1,000,000, and we have issued shares of 100,000 then Earnings per Share is (1,000,000/100,000) or 10. The P.E. for Bank A would be (10/10) or 1. A P.E. of 1 means the share price is 1 times the earnings of Bank A, very good. (lower P.E. is preferred). Let’s also assume Bank Z has a P.E of 0.5
Now if we look at table 2 which now compares prices to earnings, we can see the PE of Bank Z is lower than the PE of Bank A. This means Bank at price of 10 is trading at 1 times its earnings when compared to Bank Z which is trading at o,5 its earning, thus we can say that Bank Z is “cheaper” than Bank A because we are buying at a lower multiple of earnings
|Share||Market Price N:K||P.E. Ratio|
We can also say that if a company has a high price relative to her earnings, then that company is a Growth Stock. If, however the price relative to the earnings is lower, then the stock is a Value stock. A high growth sector like IT or biotech will have a faster growth and relatively higher PE ratio than a company in the utility sector with predictable steady earnings growth. Investors should always look at the sector P.E. and compare that with individual stock P.E.
P.E. is known as a trailing ratio because it is based on the past. Company can give forward guidance on earnings and that is used to create a Forward PE ratio. What if we wanted to compare both banks but this time instead of looking at past earning, we want to investigate the future and ask which bank we should buy using expected earnings as our main guide. To do this, we have to input expected earnings into the mix
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Let us assume Bank A is buying a smaller bank, and that will give her more branches, leading to higher growth in the future. Let’s say this will; lead to a 20% growth in earning year by year. Bank Z is not as aggressive and earning will increase, only 10% does this change the current recommendation?
It does and it introduces us to another ratio called the Price to Earnings Growth Ratio (PEG). The PEG is the P.E. of the Stock of the company divided by the growth rate of its earnings. We have already calculated the P.E. Ratio, so the PEG for Bank A is (1/20) or .05. This is an exceptionally good measure indicating the stock is undervalued. A PEG less than 1 generally means undervalued, more than 1 means overvalue