This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Warrior Met Coal, Inc.'s (NYSE:HCC) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Warrior Met Coal has a P/E ratio of 1.61, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 62.2%.
How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?
The formula for P/E is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Warrior Met Coal:
P/E of 1.61 = $20.37 ÷ $12.67 (Based on the year to September 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 is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.
How Does Warrior Met Coal's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (12.1) for companies in the metals and mining industry is higher than Warrior Met Coal's P/E.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Warrior Met Coal shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.
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. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
Warrior Met Coal's 60% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.
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.
Is Debt Impacting Warrior Met Coal's P/E?
Warrior Met Coal has net debt worth 10% of its market capitalization. This could bring some additional risk, and reduce the number of investment options for management; worth remembering if you compare its P/E to businesses without debt.
The Bottom Line On Warrior Met Coal's P/E Ratio
Warrior Met Coal trades on a P/E ratio of 1.6, which is below the US market average of 18.4. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. If it continues to grow, then the current low P/E may prove to be unjustified.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. 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.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Warrior Met Coal. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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. Thank you for reading.