Course 108: Learn the Lingo--Basic Ratios
Price/Book Ratio
In this course
1 Introduction
2 Earnings Per Share
3 Market Capitalization
4 Profit Margins
5 Price/Earnings and Related Ratios
6 Price/Sales Ratio
7 Price/Book Ratio
8 Price/Cash Flow
9 Dividend Yield
10 The Bottom Line

Another common valuation measure is the price/book ratio (P/B), which relates a stock's market value with its book value (also known as shareholder equity) from the latest balance sheet. Book value can be thought of as what would be left over for shareholders if a company shutters operations, pays off its creditors, collects from its debtors, and liquidates itself.

Book Value Per Share = (Total Shareholders Equity) / (Shares Outstanding)

P/B = (Stock Price) / (Book Value Per Share) = (Market Capitalization) / (Total Shareholder Equity)

As with the other ratios we've covered so far, there are caveats to using P/B. For instance, book value may not accurately measure a company's worth, especially if the firm possesses significant intangible assets such as brand names, market share, and other competitive advantages. The lowest price/book ratios tend to be in capital-intensive industries such as utilities and retail, whereas the highest P/B ratios are in fields such as pharmaceuticals and consumer products, where intangibles are more important.

Price/book is also tied to return on equity (ROE), which is net income divided by shareholder equity. Given two companies that are otherwise equal, the one with the higher ROE will have a higher P/B ratio. A high P/B shouldn't be cause for alarm, especially if the company continually earns a high ROE.

Next: Price/Cash Flow >>

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