Understanding Price / Earnings Ratios (P/E Ratios)
The P/E ratio (price-to-earnings ratio) of a stock (also called its "P/E", "PER", "earnings multiple", or simply "multiple") is a measure of the price paid for a share relative to the annual net income or profit earned by the firm per share. It is a financial ratio used for valuation: a higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying more for each unit of net income, so the stock is more expensive compared to one with lower P/E ratio. The P/E ratio has units of years, which can be interpreted as "number of years of earnings to pay back purchase price", ignoring the time value of money. In other words, P/E ratio shows current investor demand for a company share. The reciprocal of the PE ratio is known as the earnings yield .