The P/E value is also known as the price to earnings ratio. Basically, it is the result of taking the current stock price (34.04, in this case) and dividing it by the earnings per share most recently announced by the company ($2.03 per share). The P/E ratio is the best number to use to compare stocks to others in the same sector, as this eliminates some of the major variations between companies (i.e., you can fairly compare McDonalds to Burger King using the P/E ratio, but their stock price isn’t a good comparison because one may have more stocks outstanding than the other, for example).
The F P/E value is the forward price to earnings ratio, which is almost the same as above, except it uses projections of the company’s future earnings by stock analysts instead of the company’s announced earnings per share. In this case, the analysts are projecting about $2.11 per share in earnings the next time Lowe’s announces their numbers. Because of this, the forward P/E is lower than the normal P/E; forward P/Es are lower than normal P/Es in stocks where analysts expect the companies to make more money per share the next time they announce their earnings.
The beta is a statistical model that estimates how closely the stock’s performance matches the stock market in general. The higher the beta, the closer the stock matches the general market. Blue chip stocks generally have a higher beta, whereas speculative stocks generally have a lower beta. Often, the lower the beta, the more risky the investment.
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