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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 ?
The report, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: "Although most multiple births occur naturally, many occur as a result of fertility treatment.
Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate who both noted that children of multiple births, aside from needing extra care and attention, also bring added financial expenses for the parents.
In fact, in the highest-risk group of women aged 42 years and older, there were no higher-order multiple births at all that year, according to David Ball, Ph.
where feasible, is needed to reduce multiple births and related adverse consequences of ART.
The figures are particularly concerning because the number of women having multiple births due to IVF has dramatically risen over the past decade, the Daily Mail reported.
The desire for multiple birth in couples with infertility problems contradicts present practice patterns.
Twelve states have passed laws that directly speak to classroom placement of multiple birth children.
Keith Reed, chief executive of the Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba), said parents were not getting specific education on multiple pregnancies - putting pregnant women and their children at risk.
Multiple births can arise after assisted reproductive technology (ART) in two main ways.
90 pages may seem diminutive in size, but pack in all the depth and detail of larger adult coverages on the topic, from discussions of posthumous conception without consent to multiple birth ethics and human cloning.

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