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Here's How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand Hanmi Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:HAFC)

Simply Wall St

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how Hanmi Financial Corporation's (NASDAQ:HAFC) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Hanmi Financial has a P/E ratio of 11.82. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 8.5%.

See our latest analysis for Hanmi Financial

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 Hanmi Financial:

P/E of 11.82 = $21.47 ÷ $1.82 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E 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. That isn't a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business's prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

Hanmi Financial's earnings per share grew by -5.3% in the last twelve months. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 7.2% per year over the last five years.

Does Hanmi Financial Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

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 Hanmi Financial has a P/E ratio that is roughly in line with the banks industry average (12.7).

NasdaqGS:HAFC Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 20th 2019

Its P/E ratio suggests that Hanmi Financial shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. Further research into factors such asmanagement tenure, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

Hanmi Financial's Balance Sheet

Hanmi Financial has net cash of US$52m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Verdict On Hanmi Financial's P/E Ratio

Hanmi Financial has a P/E of 11.8. That's below the average in the US market, which is 17.9. Recent earnings growth wasn't bad. And the healthy balance sheet means the company can sustain growth while the P/E suggests shareholders don't think it will. Given analysts are expecting further growth, one might have expected a higher P/E ratio. That may be worth further research.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Thank you for reading.