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P/E ratios

Price/earnings ratios are used for many purposes, including investment analysis, company valuation and client benchmarking. On this page we look at the sources available for P/E/ ratios.

What's in this guide?

  • Definitions
  • Current and historical P/E ratios
  • P/E ratios on 31st March 1982
  • Further reading

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A company's price/earnings (P/E) ratio can be calculated by dividing the current market price of a share by the earnings per share (EPS). A high P/E ratio means the company is highly-rated by the stock market, suggesting that investors think its prospects are good.

More extensive explanations of these terms are provided by a number of books in our collection, including The Financial Times Guide to Investing and The Financial Times Guide to using the Financial Pages.

An explanation of the use of P/E ratios from a valuation perspective can be found in Determining Value and Valuation of Unquoted Companies.

Current and historical P/E ratios

Th London Stock Exchange companies and prices search includes P/E ratios for the last 5 years in individual company entries (see Key fundamentals at the bottom of an individual company's page).

The Financial Times publishes P/E ratios for companies and industry sectors in its 'Companies and Markets' section.

The FT Data Archive (subscription required) provides scans of the relevant tables for the last five years. Select the date you need and the reports London Share Service, World Markets at a Glance or FT 500.

The Library & Information Service also holds the FT on microfilm from 1975 to the end of 2016. Note: The Library currently does not have access to its microfilm collection. This is a temporary change and we hope to have access restored as soon as is viable. We apologise for any inconvenience.

The Risk Measurement Service is a quarterly publication from London Business School. It provides data on the yield and earnings multiple (including the net yield and P/E ratio) for 3,000 UK shares, including every UK stock with a full listing on the London Stock Exchange and all AIM listed stocks. The listings of companies are arranged alphabetically and by sector, with tables for the highest and lowest P/E ratios.

The Library & Information Service holds the Risk Measurement Service from 2008 onwards.

Price Earnings Ratio Database (PERDa)
The PERDa database, focusing on deals in the SME market, was created using data on completed private company sales and acquisitions across the UK and Europe supplied by the accountants working on those transactions.

Data is no longer being collected for PERDa but an archive of the newsletters published between 2015 and 2019 is still available. These summarise and provide commentary on the data from the PERDa database, including quarterly movements in the average Price Earnings ratio. The charts in the newsletters show price multiples from 2008 to 2019.

P/E ratios on 31st March 1982

Valuation of Unquoted Companies includes an appendix with 31 March 1982 valuations, providing P/E ratios for individual companies and sectors.

The relevant tables are:

F:1 FT Actuaries Share Indices as at 31 March 1982.

F:3 Selected investment statistics (including fully taxed P/E ratios) for constituents of the FT-Actuaries All-Share Index as at 31 March 1982.

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports through our document supply service.

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