Price-to-Book (P/B) Ratio Explained: Formula and How To Use It

Article Summary

The Price-to-Book (P/B) ratio is a financial metric used by investors to evaluate a company’s stock price relative to its book value. The P/B ratio compares the market value of a company to its book value, which represents the total value of a company’s assets minus its liabilities.

Furthermore, we’ll cover what the P/B ratio tells you, how to use the P/B ratio, P/B vs. Price-to-Tangible-Book, P/B ratio limitations, and frequently asked questions about the P/B ratio.

What the P/B ratio tells you

The P/B ratio is used to evaluate whether a company’s stock is overvalued or undervalued. A low P/B ratio suggests that a company’s stock may be undervalued, while a high P/B ratio suggests that a company’s stock may be overvalued.

The P/B ratio is particularly useful for investors who are interested in value investing, which involves buying stocks that are undervalued based on their intrinsic value. In value investing, investors look for companies that have a low P/B ratio because this suggests that the company’s stock price is trading below its book value, which could indicate that the company is undervalued.

Comparing the P/B ratio of a company to the P/B ratios of other companies in the same industry can also be helpful in identifying undervalued stocks.

The P/B ratio is different from other valuation ratios, such as the Price-to-Earnings (P/E) ratio, which compares a company’s stock price to its earnings per share. The P/B ratio is based on a company’s book value, while the P/E ratio is based on a company’s earnings.

How to use the P/B ratio

To calculate the P/B ratio, divide the market price per share by the book value per share.

The formula for P/B ratio is:

P/B Ratio = Market Price per Share / Book Value per Share

For example, if a company has a market price per share of \$50 and a book value per share of \$25, its P/B ratio would be 2.

When using the P/B ratio to evaluate a company’s stock, it’s important to compare the P/B ratio to similar companies in the same industry. For example, if the P/B ratio of a company is 1, but the P/B ratio of similar companies in the same industry is 2, it could suggest that the company’s stock is undervalued.

P/B vs. price-to-tangible-book

The Price-to-Tangible-Book (P/TB) ratio is similar to the P/B ratio, but it excludes intangible assets such as goodwill from the book value calculation. The P/TB ratio is often used for companies in industries where intangible assets are not a significant portion of the company’s assets.

In contrast, the P/B ratio is more appropriate for companies in industries where intangible assets are a significant portion of the company’s assets, such as technology companies.

P/B ratio limitations

It’s important to note that the P/B ratio has limitations and should not be used as the sole metric for evaluating a company’s stock. Some of the limitations of the P/B ratio include:

• It doesn’t take into account a company’s future growth potential
• It doesn’t consider a company’s earnings or cash flow
• It can be influenced by accounting practices, such as how a company values its assets

As such, it’s important to use the P/B ratio in combination with other valuation ratios and factors when evaluating a company’s stock.

P/B ratio FAQs

What is a good P/B ratio?

A good P/B ratio varies by industry, but generally, a P/B ratio below 1 suggests that a company’s stock may be undervalued, while a P/B ratio above 3 suggests that a company’s stock may be overvalued. However, it’s important to consider other factors when evaluating a company’s stock.

How often should I check a company’s P/B ratio?

The frequency of checking a company’s P/B ratio depends on your investment strategy and goals. If you’re a long-term investor, you may only need to check a company’s P/B ratio periodically. However, if you’re a short-term investor or trader, you may need to check a company’s P/B ratio more frequently.

Is a lower P/B ratio always better?

Not necessarily. A lower P/B ratio can indicate that a company’s stock is undervalued, but it can also indicate that the company is struggling or has low growth potential. It’s important to consider other factors when evaluating a company’s stock.

Key takeaways

• The Price-to-Book (P/B) ratio compares a company’s market value to its book value.
• A low P/B ratio suggests that a company’s stock may be undervalued, while a high P/B ratio suggests that a company’s stock may be overvalued.
• The P/B ratio is particularly useful for investors interested in value investing.
• To calculate the P/B ratio, divide the market price per share by the book value per share.
• The P/B ratio has limitations and should be used in combination with other valuation ratios and factors when evaluating a company’s stock.
View Article Sources
1. “Price to Book Ratios by Sector (US)” – Aswath Damodaran, New York University Stern School of Business
2. “Price-to-Book Ratios and Equity Returns” – Brian C. Payne, University of Georgia
3. “Price-to-Book Ratio” – Wall Street Prep
4. “Is the Price-to-Book Ratio a Predictor of Growth?” – Christian Laux and Christian Leuz, University of Pennsylvania