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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 ?
Major finding: In the highest-risk group of women aged 42 years and older, there were no higher-order multiple births (triplets and higher) in 2011.
This method allows data for multiple births to be treated as repeated measures of the same birth.
Early parental interactions with and perceptions of multiple birth infants.
The preferred endpoint of fertility treatment should be a healthy, singleton, term birth, as multiple births have higher perinatal morbidity and mortality.
To assist in holding the 2004 Multiple Births Canada Conference in New Liskeard so that Timiskaming area social service organizations will be able to participate and learn how to better support multiple birth families.
Did the media cover potential harm to fetuses and would-be children in the same way for two groups of mothers: (a) pregnant women addicted to illicit drugs and (b) women who chose to continue a high-order, multiple birth pregnancy?
The chances of having a multiple birth rises with the mother's age, so one reason for the increase in multiple births is that women are waiting longer to have children.
Best's Review's cover story, "Baby Boom," reveals how the growing incidence of multiple birth events has health carriers scrambling for ways to curb ever-rising expenses, particularly those involving complications and hospitalization stays of premature babies.
While stillbirth rates in singletons have declined in recent years, stillbirth rates in multiple birth babies increased by around 10% between 2013 and 2015.
With access to the multiple birth clinic at University College Hospital in London (above), the two-part documentary captures the highs and lows experienced during a multiple pregnancy.
Professor Helen Dolk, from the University of Ulster, who co-led the study, said: "The co-occurrence of multiple birth and congenital anomaly among live borns places particular demands on parents and health services.

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