December 7, 2021

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Here’s What South Jersey Industries, Inc.’s (NYSE:SJI) P/E Is Telling Us

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use South Jersey Industries, Inc.’s (NYSE:SJI) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, South Jersey Industries’s P/E ratio is 33.20. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying $33.20 for every $1 in prior year profit.

Check out our latest analysis for South Jersey Industries

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for South Jersey Industries:

P/E of 33.20 = $27.820 ÷ $0.838 (Based on the year to December 2019.)

(Note: the above calculation results may not be precise due to rounding.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each $1 the company has earned over the last year. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price’.

How Does South Jersey Industries’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. The image below shows that South Jersey Industries has a higher P/E than the average (21.0) P/E for companies in the gas utilities industry.

NYSE:SJI Price Estimation Relative to Market April 27th 2020

That means that the market expects South Jersey Industries will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the ‘E’ decreases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others — and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

South Jersey Industries’s 292% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. Unfortunately, earnings per share are down 11% a year, over 5 years.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

So What Does South Jersey Industries’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals a substantial 132% of South Jersey Industries’s market cap. This level of debt justifies a relatively low P/E, so remain cognizant of the debt, if you’re comparing it to other stocks.

The Bottom Line On South Jersey Industries’s P/E Ratio

South Jersey Industries’s P/E is 33.2 which is above average (13.5) in its market. Its meaningful level of debt should warrant a lower P/E ratio, but the fast EPS growth is a positive. So it seems likely the market is overlooking the debt because of the fast earnings growth.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

But note: South Jersey Industries may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at [email protected] This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.

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