The P/S ratio is an excellent valuation indicator if you want to compare a stock with its historical valuation or with the stocks in the same industry. The P/S ratio works especially well when you want to compare the stocks current valuation with its historical valuation. The P/S ratio is a great valuation tool for evaluating cyclical businesses where the P/E ratio works poorly. It works the best when comparing the current valuation with the historical valuation because over time, a companys profit margin tends to revert to the mean.
When the P/S ratio is applied to the whole stock market, it can be used to evaluate the current market valuation and projected returns. In this case, the price is the total market cap of all stocks that are traded, and sales are the GDP of the country. This is how Warren Buffett estimates the broad market valuation and project future returns.
Similar to the Price/Earnings ratio and Price/Cash Flow or Price/Free Cash Flow, the P/E ratio measures the valuation based on the earning power of the company. This is where it is different from Price/Book ratio, which measures the valuation based on the companys balance sheet.
The P/S ratio does not tell you how cheap or expensive the stock is. It cannot be used to compare companies in different industries. It works better for companies within the same industry because these companies tend to have similar capital structures and profit margins. It works the best when comparing a company with itself in the past.
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