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Is Banner Corporation's (NASDAQ:BANR) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Simply Wall St

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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Banner Corporation's ( NASDAQ:BANR ) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Banner has a price to earnings ratio of 12.76 , based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.8%.

Check out our latest analysis for Banner

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Banner:

P/E of 12.76 = $53.83 ÷ $4.22 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

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 is not a good or a bad thing per se , but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

In the last year, Banner grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 110% gain was both fast and well deserved. And earnings per share have improved by 31% annually, over the last three years. So you might say it really deserves to have an above-average P/E ratio.

Does Banner Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. As you can see below Banner has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the banks industry, which is 12.9.

NasdaqGS:BANR Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 3rd 2019

Banner's P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. Checking factors such as director buying and selling . could help you form your own view on if that will happen.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

Banner's Balance Sheet

Net debt totals 19% of Banner's market cap. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Verdict On Banner's P/E Ratio

Banner trades on a P/E ratio of 12.8, which is below the US market average of 18.2. 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. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.' 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.

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