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What is earnings yield?

Understanding the Concept of Earnings Yield

When it comes to investing in the stock market, understanding various financial ratios is of paramount importance. One such crucial investment metric that investors should grasp is the “Earnings Yield”. This metric serves as a significant analytic tool for investors to determine the attractiveness of their investments. Let’s delve into a detailed understanding of Earnings Yield.

Definition of Earnings Yield

The earnings yield is the result of dividing the most recent 12-month period’s earnings per share by the share’s current market price. It is expressed as a percentage and is used to compare the relative attractiveness of different investments. The earnings yield is essentially a measure used by investors to assess an investment’s return on investment compared to its price.

Why is the Earnings Yield Important?

The earnings yield has numerous important implications for investors. Firstly, the earnings yield describes the performance of the firm’s earnings in relation to its stock price, which can assist investors in identifying potentially undervalued or overvalued stocks.

Secondly, the earnings yield can be compared directly to interest rates. In a sense, it is the total return of holding a company’s stock before dividends. If the earnings yield is significantly higher than the rate of return on risk-free assets (such as government bonds), it may indicate that the equities market offers a better return on investment, and vice versa.

Thirdly, the earnings yield is often used as an estimate of expected returns on investment. It is integral to various financial and valuation models.

How is the Earnings Yield Calculated?

The formula to calculate earnings yield is as follows:

Earnings Yield = (Earnings per Share/Market Price per Share) * 100%.

In this formula, “earnings” refer to the company’s net income or profits after tax for the most recent financial year. Earnings per Share (EPS) can be calculated by dividing this figure by the total number of outstanding shares. The market price per share is the current trading price of the company’s stock.

Interpretation of Earnings Yield

When interpreting the earnings yield, one must remember that, like all ratios used in financial analysis, it is most useful when comparing similar companies within the same industry.

A high earnings yield could indicate that a stock is undervalued, meaning the company’s earnings are good relative to the price of the stock. Alternatively, this could indicate that the financial markets have lower expectations of future growth for the company and, as such, have priced the company’s stock down.

On the other hand, a low earnings yield could suggest that the stock is overpriced relative to earnings or that the financial markets expect higher growth from the company in the future.

Earnings Yield Vs P/E Ratio

The price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio and the earnings yield are directly related. They both help investors understand the relationship between the price of a company’s shares and its earnings. However, while the P/E ratio shows the amount an investor needs to invest to gain one unit of earnings, the earnings yield shows the earnings generated for each unit invested.

It’s important to note that the earnings yield is the inverse of the P/E ratio. For instance, if a company has a P/E ratio of 20, it has an earnings yield of 5% (1/20=0.05, or 5%).


While the earnings yield is a useful tool in determining a stock’s potential return on investment, understanding its limitations is equally important. Earnings yields don’t take dividends into account, which can be a significant component of a stock’s overall return.

A thorough understanding of earnings yield provides an investor with an additional tool to compare prospective investments. However, it should not be the only factor taken into consideration. To make sound investment decisions, it is crucial to consider a raft of metrics, including other financial ratios, industry trends, macro-economic factors, and more. When all these factors are used in conjunction, they paint a more complete, holistic picture of a company’s current state and future potential.

Remember, investing in the stock market is not just about purchasing low earning yield stocks and selling them high. It’s about careful analysis, patience, and making informed decisions based on various risk and reward considerations.