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Shows the multiple of earnings at which a stock sells. Determined by dividing current stock price by current earnings per share (adjusted for stock splits). Earnings per share for the P/E ratio are determined by dividing earnings for past 12 months by the number of common shares outstanding. Higher multiple means investors have higher expectations for future growth, and have bid up the stock's price.
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
price-earnings ratio (P/E ratio)
A common stock analysis statistic in which the current price of a stock is divided by the current (or sometimes the projected) earnings per share of the issuing firm. As a rule, a relatively high price-earnings ratio is an indication that investors believe the firm's earnings are likely to grow. Price-earnings ratios vary significantly among companies, among industries, and over time. One of the important influences on this ratio is long-term interest rates. In general, relatively high rates result in low price-earnings ratios; low interest rates result in high price-earnings ratios. Also called earnings multiple, market multiple, multiple, P/E ratio. See also forward P/E, trailing P/E.