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What is PE Ratio?

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  5. What is PE Ratio?

In investing, it is crucial to understand fundamental financial ratios and metrics. When analyzing assets like stocks, one widely used ratio is the PE ratio, also known as the Price-per-Earnings Ratio. It represents the relationship between a stock’s market price and earnings per share (EPS). A PE Ratio provides crucial insights into whether a stock is deemed expensive at its current market price. 

But why is the Price Earnings Ratio important, and what role does it play in finance?

PE Ratio Meaning and Significance

The Price-Earnings Ratio is a financial measure used to evaluate a company’s stock valuation. It compares the company’s current market price with earnings per share (EPS). In simpler terms, it reveals the market’s interest in the company’s stock. 

A high PE Ratio is often an indicator of optimistic investing possibilities. It suggests that you can expect the company shares to be among the high-growth stocks and have potential capital appreciation. On the other hand, it indicates that a stock is overvalued, potentially leading to overpaying for future growth expectations.

Similarly, a low PE Ratio indicates undervaluation of the shares and may present an opportunity for potential price appreciation. However, a low PE ratio can also mean declining company earnings or chances of risks.

Mathematically, the PE Ratio is calculated using the following formula:

PE Ratio = Market Price Per Share ÷ Earnings Per Share

PE Ratios can offer you significant insights into relative valuation and market sentiments. Comparing the PE Ratios of different companies within the same industry or sector can also provide insight into other investment opportunities. 

Types of PE Ratio

Trailing Twelve Months (TTM) PE

The Trailing Twelve-Month PE Ratio is calculated by dividing the current share price by the earnings per share (EPS) for the past four quarters. This metric offers a quick overview of a company’s valuation based on its recent earnings performance. TTM PE is a straightforward calculation since companies’ quarterly financial statements regularly report EPS figures.

Forward PE

Forward PE Ratio is calculated by dividing the current share price by the projected earnings per share (EPS) for the next four quarters. This metric requires relatively more expertise due to the involvement of forecasting future earnings based on market data. This market data usually includes factors like sales, margins, profit and loss statements. Research analysts typically estimate forward earnings and PE Ratio based on guidance from company management and their research. 

Types of PE Ratio

Based on Earning Measure – Trailing 12 Months Vs Forward PE Ratio

FeatureTrailing PE RatioForward PE Ratio
Basis of EarningsBased on past earnings over the previous 12 months.Based on projected earnings over the next 12 months.
ReflectsHow much are investors willing to pay based on future expectations?Historical reflects past company performance.
NatureHistorical. It reflects past company performance.Predictive, based on forecasts and expectations.
UseEvaluates current price relative to historical earnings.Assesses stock value considering future earnings growth.

Based on the Calculation Method – Absolute PE Ratio Vs. Relative PE Ratio

Absolute PE RatioRelative PE Ratio
PE Ratio is calculated using either Trailing Twelve Months PE or Forward PE.Compares current Absolute PE to a range of past PE Ratios.
It is widely quoted.It is not necessarily widely quoted.
The limitation is that stocks in different sectors trade in different valuation ranges.Overcomes the Absolute PE limitation by considering past PEs of the same stock or industry. 
Does not provide you with any context for comparison across industries.Provides you with a comparison within the same stock or industry based on past PE Ratios

What Can Be Called a Good PE Ratio?

Determining a good Price-Per-Earnings Ratio involves considering various market factors, sectors, and historical contexts. Due to varying growth potentials, different sectors have distinct valuation ranges. Thus, using a universal PE level for all stocks is quite impractical.

Comparing the current PE Ratios to their historical range can offer better insights. If the current PE Ratio is closer to the lower end of the range, it might indicate an attractive investment opportunity. Of course, this is only if other factors align.

A good Price Per-Earnings Ratio depends on the context and requires evaluation within the context of the stock’s historical range, sector dynamics, and other relevant factors. 


To conclude, the price-per-earnings ratio is a significant metric in stock valuation. It can be a vital tool for you as an investor, indicating whether stocks are over- or undervalued. Understanding PE Ratios can significantly help you make informed investment decisions. However, the PE ratio as a standalone ratio can be an incomplete stock analysis. Combining it with other ratios and fundamentals, such as return on assets, is suggested for a thorough stock analysis.

Keeping track of potential investments can be fairly challenging. In such situations, relying on a SEBI-registered investment advisory like Research & Ranking can make the process easier. Equentis – Research & Ranking, with its fantastic analysis and innovative tools like financial calculators, has seamlessly changed the way of investing.

These services ensure a competent investment process and help you avoid costly investing mistakes. Moreover, with Research & Ranking’s aid, all your financial goals related to personal finance can become stress-free and achievable.  

  1. What does a negative PE Ratio indicate?

    A negative PE Ratio indicates that the company has negative earnings. However, this does not make the company a bad investment option, as most companies experience occasional losses. 

  2. Do changes in interest rates impact PE Ratios?

    Yes, changes in interest rates can impact PE Ratios. Lower interest rates can lead to higher PE and vice versa. 

  3. Can two companies with the same PE Ratio have different growth prospects?

    PE Ratios do not account for growth rates or other qualitative factors that impact future earnings.

  4. What is an N/A PE Ratio?

    An N/A PE Ratio means the PE Ratio does not apply to a stock. It happens in industries with irregular or negative earnings. 

  5. What is a good PE ratio?

    A “good” PE ratio varies across industries and market conditions, generally considered favorable between 10 and 20, reflecting a potentially worthwhile investment without excessive overvaluation.

  6. Is it good if the PE ratio is high?

    A high PE ratio can be good or bad; it may signal investors' high expectations for future growth and suggest that the stock might be overvalued, posing a more significant risk.

  7. What if the PE ratio is 40?

    A PE ratio 40 is typically considered high, indicating investors expect significant future earnings growth. However, it also raises concerns about overvaluation, making the stock potentially riskier.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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