Price/Book of General Electric Capital Corporation
The price to book ratio, or P/B ratio, is a financial ratio used to compare a company's current market price to its book value. It is also sometimes known as a market to book ratio or price to equity ratio. The calculation of a price to book ratio can be performed in two ways. It can be calculated as the company's market capitalization divided by the company's total book value from its balance sheet. It can also be calculated using per-share values and dividing a company's current share price by the book value per share (i.e. its book value divided by the number of outstanding shares).
The P/B ratio varies between industries. The industries that require more infrastructure capital (for each dollar of profit) will usually trade at P/B ratios much lower than, for example, consulting firms. P/B ratios are commonly used to compare banks, because most assets and liabilities of banks are constantly valued at market values. A higher P/B ratio implies that investors expect management to create more value from a given set of assets, all else equal (and/or that the market value of the firm's assets is significantly higher than their accounting value).
P/B ratios do not, however, directly provide any information on the ability of the firm to generate profits or cash for shareholders. This ratio also gives some idea of whether an investor is paying too much for what would be left if the company went bankrupt immediately. For companies in distress, the book value is usually calculated without the intangible assets that would have no resale value. In such cases, P/B should also be calculated on a "diluted" basis, because stock options may well vest on sale of the company or change of control or firing of management.
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