The Most Important Financial Ratios for New Investors

Before you start investing in individual stocks, a key step is understanding how to interpret and calculate the most important financial ratios. Even if you usually get financial ratio figures from your agent or a financial website, you still ought to be aware of what they signify and what they are able to tell you about a business where you are thinking about investing. Otherwise, you can make a mistake like buying into a business with too much money or paying too much for a stock with meager earnings growth potential.

Some investors prefer to focus on a financial ratio called the price-to-cash-flow ratio rather than the more well-known price-to-earnings ratio. It is calculated by dividing a organization’s market capitalization by its cash flow from operations or dividing its share price by its cash flow from operations per share.

Price-to-Earnings Ratio

The price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E, is probably the most famous financial ratio in the world. It’s a quick and easy method to ascertain how cheap or expensive the stock is in comparison with its peers.
The easiest definition of the P/E is the amount of money that the sector is willing to pay for each $1 in earnings a business generates. You need to consider whether that amount is too high, a deal, or somewhere in between.

PEG Ratio

The PEG ratio goes one step farther compared to P/E. It factors in the projected pace of earnings growth for a business and may be a better indicator of whether a stock is cheap or expensive than the more straightforward ratio based on cost alone.
Asset Turnover Ratio

The asset turnover ratio computes the earnings generated by each dollar of assets a company owns. It is a fantastic method of assessing how efficiently a company has been utilizing its assets in relation to its peers.

Current Ratio

Like the price-to-earnings ratio, the current ratio is among the most famous of all the financial ratios. It functions as a test of a business’s financial strength and can give you an notion of if or not a business has too much or too little money on hand to satisfy its obligations. It’s calculated by dividing current assets by current liabilities.

The quick ratio is another method of assisting you to determine a organization’s financial strength. Additionally, it is known as the acid test and, as its name implies, is a more rigorous measure of a business’s ability to satisfy its obligations. It subtracts out stock from present assets prior to dividing by existing obligations because a company may require a fantastic deal of time to liquidate its stock before the money can be used to pay for liabilities.

Debt-to-Equity Ratio

The debt-to-equity ratio enables investors to evaluate the total stockholders’ equity of a company (the amount stockholders have invested in the company and retained earnings) to its overall obligations. Stockholders’ equity is sometimes regarded as the net value of a company from the perspective of its own owners. Dividing a organization’s debt by its stockholders’ equity–and doing the exact same for the company’s competitors–can tell you how highly leveraged a company is compared with its peers.

The gross profit margin lets you understand how much of a organization’s profit can be obtained –as a percentage of revenue–to meet the company’s expenses. It is calculated by subtracting the price of products sold from complete sales and dividing the result by total sales.

Net Profit Margin

The net profit margin tells you just how much cash a company makes for each $1 in revenue. As an example, if a organization’s net profit margin is 0.14, the business makes 14 cents in profit for every dollar of earnings.

The interest coverage ratio is a significant financial ratio for firms that take a good deal of debt. It lets you know how much money is available to pay for the interest expense a company incurs about the money it owes annually.

Operating Margin

Operating income–gross profit minus operating expenses–would be the overall pre-tax gain a company generated from its operations. In addition, it can be described as the cash available to the owners before a couple of things will need to be paid, such as preferred stock dividends and earnings taxation. The company’s operating margin is its own operating earnings divided by its revenue and is a means of measuring a company’s efficiency.

Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio

The sooner a organization’s clients pay their invoices, the sooner the company can put that cash to use. The accounts receivable turnover ratio is a convenient method of calculating the number of times in a year per business collects its accounts receivable. If you divide that amount into 365, then you’ll have the average number of days a business requires to get paidoff.

Inventory Turnover Ratio

You can calculate how many times a business turns its inventory over during a time period using the inventory turnover ratio. An extremely efficient merchant is going to get a higher stock turnover ratio compared to a less efficient competitor.

Return on Assets

Return on assets, or ROA, tells an investor how much benefit a firm generated for each dollar in assets. This ratio, which is calculated by dividing net profits by total resources, measures how efficiently a organization’s direction is utilizing its assets to generate profit and is most useful when comparing a company’s ROA to that of its peers.

Return on Equity

One of the most important profitability metrics is return on equity, which is often abbreviated as ROE. Return on equity shows how much benefit a business earned compared to the whole amount of stockholders’ equity discovered on its own balance sheet.

Advanced Return on Equity: The DuPont Model

The DuPont version, or DuPont evaluation, enables one to break down return on equity farther to ascertain which variables are driving ROE. It may also provide you with important details about a company’s capital structure.

Working Capital Per Dollar of Sales

The working capital per dollar of sales financial ratio is significant as it lets you know how much money a business needs to keep on hand to conduct business. Broadly speaking, the more working capital a business needs, the less valuable it’s because that is money the owners can not take from the business in the kind of dividends.