What is the P/E Ratio?

P/E Ratio Meaning :

The Price-to-Earnings (P/E) ratio is a fundamental financial metric used to evaluate the valuation of a company’s stock. It compares the current market price of a company’s shares to its earnings per share (EPS).

In simple terms, the P/E ratio tells investors how much they are willing to pay for each rupee of earnings generated by the company.

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Why is the P/E Ratio Important?

The P/E ratio is important for several reasons:

1- Valuation Assessment

It helps investors determine whether a stock is overvalued, undervalued, or reasonably priced in the market.

2- Comparison Tool

Investors use the P/E ratio to compare the relative valuations of different companies within the same industry or sector.

3- Expectations of Future Growth

A high P/E ratio may suggest that investors expect strong future earnings growth, while a low P/E may indicate lower growth expectations.

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Price-to-Earnings Ratio Formula With example

See how does the PE ratio works in stock market using the following simple  formula:

P/E Ratio = Market Price per Share / Earnings per Share (EPS)


Market Price per Share is the current trading price of a company’s stock.

Earnings per Share (EPS) is the company’s net income divided by the total number of outstanding shares.


Let’s say Company ITC has a current stock price of INR 450, and its EPS for the last year was INR 24.43.

P/E Ratio = 450 / 24.43 = 18.4x

This means investors are willing to pay 18.4 times the company’s earnings for each share of ITC.

Impact of the P/E Ratio

The P/E ratio has several implications:

  • Investor Sentiment: A high P/E ratio may indicate bullish sentiment, while a low P/E may signal bearish sentiment among investors.
  • Risk Assessment: It can help investors gauge the level of risk associated with a particular stock. Higher P/E ratios often come with higher expectations and potential volatility.
  • Comparative Analysis: Investors use the P/E ratio to compare a company’s valuation to its peers or industry averages to make informed investment decisions.

Also Read: What is Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) : Definition and Examples