What is a P/E Ratio? | Investing for Beginners

Posted by Viviana Vazquez in InvestingMay 30, 2021(Last Updated February 14, 2022)2 min read
Are you ready to make some real money moves?

As an investor, understanding how the stock market works before jumping in headfirst is critical. Preparation is key when you are planning to use your money to grow your wealth. Many investors choose to build their wealth in the stock market with the hope of earning a return on their investment.

Historically, on average, the stock market has risen 10% annually. When stock prices increase, investors can get paid in two ways, capital gains or dividend payouts. Before purchasing a stock, it’s important to consider a company’s stock price and assess its profitability. One primary stock analysis method that assists investors in knowing if a stock is profitable is the P/E ratio.

What is a P/E ratio?

The price-to-earnings ratio, commonly known as the P/E ratio, is used to help an investor determine if a company is overvalued or undervalued. The P/E ratio also analyzes the ratio of the market share price of a company’s stock to the company’s earnings-per-share (EPS), generally from the previous 12-month period.

The P/E ratio is a helpful tool to utilize when comparing a company’s stock price and earnings. If there are two companies you are interested in investing in, then the P/E ratio will assist you in knowing which stock is overpriced or undervalued.

How do you use the P/E ratio formula?


A low or high P/E ratio doesn’t necessarily suggest that the stock is a good or bad investment; it simply indicates the stock price relative to the company’s earnings. If a stock has a low P/E ratio, its current stock price is low concerning its earnings. If a stock has a high P/E ratio, its stock price is high compared to its earnings.

When analyzing stocks, many factors should be used to understand if a stock is a good or bad investment choice. A stock’s P/E ratio should be used and other stock analysis methods like debt-equity ratio, dividend payout ratio, and price-sales ratio.

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