# Price-to-Earnings Ratio: What Does a High P/E Ratio Mean?

Let’s cover the Price-to-Earnings Ratio: What does a high P/E ratio Mean? A company’s price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) measures its valuation concerning its earnings. A high P/E ratio generally means that investors would be willing to pay more for a stock because they think it has very high growth potential. Alternatively, a low P/E ratio generally means that investors are not willing to pay as much for the stock because they think it is overpriced and does not have as much growth potential. Instead of focusing on just one metric, it’s helpful to look at these two indicators together. When we combine the P/E with the forward P/E, we get the “price-to-earnings-to-growth” or “PEG” ratio. Considering these metrics, you can see how expensive a stock is compared with its earnings growth and projected earnings growth going forward.

## What is a Normal PE Ratio?

The average PE for a stock depends on the industry and country in which it operates. The PE ratio of the S&P 500 index is around 16.7 and has remained fairly stable over the years. PE ratios higher than 25 are considered high. But keep in mind that not all high PE ratios are bad. In general, PE ratios should be higher for stocks in industries that are expected to grow quickly and lower for stocks in industries that are expected to grow more slowly. PE ratios should also be higher for stocks in industries with higher risk, such as banks and pharmaceuticals, and lower for those with lower risk, such as utilities and consumer staples.

### High PE Ratios: What Does it Mean for Stocks?

A high P/E ratio means that investors are willing to fork out a little more at a higher price for the company’s stocks because they think the company will generate high returns from its operations. This means the company’s stock price is expected to grow quickly. When the PE ratio is high, you get less “bang for your buck.” You are paying a higher price for the company’s future earnings. So you have to be sure that the company can deliver on expectations and meet those high earnings expectations. You have to be sure that the high PE ratio does not lead to a disappointing earnings report. If the PE ratio is high, it is also a sign that there is a lot of hype around the company’s stocks and investor interest. This can be good if there is more interest in your stocks and you’re getting more attention from the general investing public. But with great interest comes great responsibility — you have to deliver on expectations.

### But Why Are PE Ratios Important?

PE ratios are an important measure of how expensive a stock is. A high P/E ratio means that investors would be willing to spend more for a certain stock — they expect the stock to grow quickly and generate high returns. A high PE ratio is generally a good sign for a company: the market expects the company to be very profitable. A high PE ratio usually indicates that investors are bullish about the company and are willing to pay a higher price for its shares. This shows a lot of interest in the company’s stocks. A low PE ratio, on the other hand, means that investors are willing to pay less for the company’s stock — they do not expect the company to be as profitable. A low PE ratio could indicate investors are worried about the company and its future. Conversely, a low PE ratio could signify investors are bearish about the company.

### How to Read P/E Ratios Together

To understand PE ratios, you also need to look at the company’s projected earnings growth (PE growth). This is the expected growth rate of the company’s earnings over the next few years. The projected earnings growth and the PE ratio provide a better picture of the company’s valuation. For example, a company with a PE ratio of 20 and a projected earnings growth rate of 15% has a PEG ratio of 1.33. This means that the company is expected to be fairly priced. Therefore, investors are willing to pay a fair price for the stock.

On the other hand, a company that has a PE ratio of 20 and a projected earnings growth rate of 50% has a PEG ratio of 0.50. This means that the company could be underpriced. As a result, investors are not willing to pay a high price for the stock and are willing to pay a lower price.

### Rule of Thumb for High PE Ratios

When analyzing the company’s stock, it is important to look at the PE ratios and projected earnings growth. A rule of thumb for high PE ratios is that a company with a PE ratio of 30 or higher is considered overpriced. A company with a PE ratio of 20 or below is considered underpriced. You can also use the PE and PEG ratios to get a better picture of the company’s valuation. When analyzing a company’s PE ratios, you must remember that the PE ratio is backward-looking —based on past earnings. Investors are willing to pay a high price for the company’s stocks because they expect the company to generate high operating returns. But past earnings cannot predict future results.

### Bottom Line

PE ratios are an important measure of how expensive a stock is. A high P/E ratio means that investors are willing to pay a premium price for the stock — they expect the stock to grow quickly and generate high returns. A low PE ratio means investors are unwilling to pay as much for the stock. When analyzing a company’s PE ratios, you must remember that the PE ratio is backward-looking —based on past earnings. Investors are willing to pay a high price for the company’s stocks because they expect the company to generate high operating returns. But past earnings cannot predict future results. Therefore, it is important to look at the PE ratios of a company together with its projected earnings growth. A rule of thumb for high PE ratios is that a company with a PE ratio of 30 or higher is considered overpriced. A company with a PE ratio of 20 or below is considered underpriced.