Definition of P/E Stock terms & definitions

Price to earnings ratio is the ratio of a company's stock price to the company's earnings per share calculated over trailing twelve months.

The price to earnings ratio is the most widely used method for determining whether shares are accurately valued in relation to one another. But the P/E ratio does not in itself indicate whether the share is a bargain. The P/E ratio depends on the market’s perception of the risk and future growth in earnings. A company with a low P/E ratio indicates that the market perceives it as a higher risk or a lower growth or both as compared to a company with a higher price to earnings ratio. The P/E ratio of a listed company’s stock is the result of the collective perception of the market as to how risky the company is and what its earnings growth prospects are in relation to that of other companies. Investors use the P/E ratio to compare their own perception of the risk and growth of a company against the market’s collective perception of the risk and growth as reflected in the current P/E ratio.