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Price-Earnings Ratio

The price of a security per share at a given time divided by its annual earnings per share. Often, the earnings used are trailing 12 month earnings, but some analysts use other forms. The P/E ratio is a way to help determine a security's stock valuation, that is, the fair value of a stock in a perfect market. It is also a measure of expected, but not realized, growth. Companies expected to announce higher earnings usually have a higher P/E ratio, while companies expected to announce lower earnings usually have a lower P/E ratio. See also: PEG


1. In stock-index futures, the number multiplied by the futures price to determine the value of the contract. For example, the $500 multiple of the Standard & Poor's Midcap Index is multiplied by the futures price to determine the value of one contract. Thus, a futures price of $230 would yield a contract value of $115,000 ($500 × $230).


A stock's multiple is its price-to-earnings ratio (P/E). It's figured by dividing the market price of the stock by the company's earnings.

The earnings could be the actual earnings for the past four quarters, called a trailing P/E. Or they might be the actual figures for the past two quarters plus an analyst's projection for the next two, called a forward P/E.

Investors use the multiple as a way to assess whether the price they are paying for the stock is justified by its earnings potential. The higher the multiple they are willing to accept, the higher their expectations for the stock.

However, some investors reject stocks with higher multiples, since it may be impossible for the stock to meet the market's expectations.

References in periodicals archive ?
19 ( ANI ): The three-year old girl, who was rescued from the Ejipura building collapse site earlier this week, passed away on Thursday due to multiple organ failure.
Shropshire coroner John Ellery, giving a narrative verdict, said Mrs Owen, of Oswestry, died of multiple organ failure due in part to arthritis and its treatment.
She suffered multiple organ failure due to epilepsy as a consequence of brain injuries.
Campaigner Claire Rayner told yesterday how she is now "on the mend" after a serious illness left her with multiple organ failure.
Dr Peter Acland, Home Office pathologist, said cause of death was adult respiratory distress and multiple organ failure after Mr O'Toole choked on his own vomit.
Shinohara, 40, died of multiple organ failure at 7:25 a.
Relatives of Lisa McClatchey heard how she died on November 15, 2006, from multiple organ failure caused by massive burns suffered in an attack nine days before.
Stating that Thompson had converted to Islam, Akram said that she is learning his language Urdu, adding that Thompson has been close to his sons from his first marriage to Huma, who died in 2009 after multiple organ failure.
Dr Kenneth Shorrock, a Home Office pathologist, told an inquest at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, that Trooper Hall, from Dartmouth, Devon, died from multiple organ failure due to blast injuries.
A post mortem revealed that Mr Ali died from multiple organ failure due to pneumonia caused by his injuries.
He lost his fight for life in the early hours of February 29 and a postmortem confirmed he suffered multiple organ failure as a result of stab wounds.

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