Investing in the stock market requires a solid understanding of the financial health and performance of the companies you’re considering. One of the most effective ways to gauge this is through financial ratios. These ratios provide insights into various aspects of a company’s operations, helping you make informed investment decisions. In this blog, we’ll break down some of the key financial ratios every investor should know, explained in simple, layman terms.

1. Price-to-Earnings (P/E) Ratio

What It Is: The P/E ratio measures a company’s current share price relative to its earnings per share (EPS). It’s a way to determine how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of earnings.

How to Calculate: P/E Ratio=Market Price per Share/Earnings per Share (EPS)

Why It Matters:

  • A high P/E ratio may indicate that a stock is overvalued or that investors expect high growth rates in the future.
  • A low P/E ratio may suggest that the stock is undervalued or that the company is facing difficulties.

2. Price-to-Book (P/B) Ratio

What It Is: The P/B ratio compares a company’s market value to its book value. The book value is the net asset value of a company, calculated as total assets minus intangible assets (like patents) and liabilities.

How to Calculate: P/B Ratio=Market Price per Share/Book Value per 

Why It Matters:

  • A P/B ratio less than 1 can indicate that the stock is undervalued, or there might be underlying problems with the company.
  • A higher P/B ratio can mean the company is performing well or is overvalued.

3. Debt-to-Equity (D/E) Ratio

What It Is: The D/E ratio measures a company’s financial leverage by comparing its total liabilities to its shareholders’ equity. It shows the proportion of equity and debt a company uses to finance its assets.

How to Calculate: D/E Ratio=Total Liabilities/Shareholders’ Equity

Why It Matters:

  • A high D/E ratio indicates that a company may be taking on too much debt, which could be risky during economic downturns.
  • A lower D/E ratio suggests a more financially stable company with less risk.

4. Return on Equity (ROE)

What It Is: ROE measures how effectively management is using a company’s assets to create profits. It is calculated by dividing net income by shareholders’ equity.

How to Calculate: ROE=Net Income/Shareholders’ Equity​

Why It Matters:

  • A high ROE indicates that the company is effectively generating income from its equity base.
  • Investors look for companies with consistently high ROE as it suggests efficient management and profitable business operations.

5. Current Ratio

What It Is: The current ratio is a liquidity ratio that measures a company’s ability to pay short-term obligations with its current assets.

How to Calculate: Current Ratio=Current Assets/Current Liabilities

Why It Matters:

  • A current ratio above 1 indicates that the company has more current assets than current liabilities, which is a good sign of financial health.
  • A ratio below 1 may suggest that the company could struggle to meet its short-term obligations.

6. Quick Ratio (Acid-Test Ratio)

What It Is: The quick ratio, or acid-test ratio, is similar to the current ratio but provides a more stringent test of liquidity by excluding inventory from current assets.

How to Calculate: Quick Ratio=Current Assets−Inventory/Current Liabilities

Why It Matters:

  • This ratio shows a company’s ability to meet short-term obligations without relying on the sale of inventory, which might not be quickly convertible to cash.
  • A higher quick ratio indicates better short-term financial health.

7. Earnings Per Share (EPS)

What It Is: EPS is the portion of a company’s profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock. It is a widely used indicator of a company’s profitability.

How to Calculate: EPS=Net Income−Dividends on Preferred Stock/Average Outstanding Shares

Why It Matters:

  • Higher EPS indicates greater profitability and is often seen as a positive sign by investors.
  • EPS growth can signal company growth and attract investors looking for good returns.


Understanding these key financial ratios can significantly enhance your ability to evaluate potential investments and make more informed decisions. While no single ratio can provide a complete picture, using a combination of these metrics can give you a comprehensive view of a company’s financial health and performance. Always consider these ratios in context and alongside other qualitative factors to get the best insights into your investment choices.

By familiarizing yourself with these essential financial ratios, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the stock market and build a more robust investment portfolio. Happy investing!