If you know a company's stock price and its price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, you can calculate its net income, or profit. A P/E ratio measures the relationship between a company's stock price and its net income. The ratio equals a company's stock price per share divided by its earnings per share over the past 12 months. Earnings per share equals net income divided by total outstanding shares. A low P/E ratio means investors are willing to pay less for a company's net income per share of stock. A high P/E ratio means investors are willing to pay more.
Visit any financial website that gives stock information and find a company's P/E ratio, price per share and number of shares outstanding, which is information that a financial website provides for all public companies. For example, assume a company's P/E ratio is 12, its price per share is $20 and it has 1 million shares outstanding.
Substitute the values into the P/E ratio formula: P/E ratio = price per share/(net income/shares outstanding). In this example, substitute the values to get 12 = $20/(net income/1 million).
Multiply both sides of the equation by the right side's denominator. In this example, multiply both sides by (net income/1 million) to get 12 x (net income/1 million) = $20.
Divide the company's P/E ratio by its total shares outstanding. In this example, divide 12 by 1 million to get 0.000012. This leaves 0.000012 x net income = $20.
Divide the company's stock price per share by your result to calculate its net income over the past 12 months. In this example, divide $20 by 0.000012 to get approximately $1.7 million in net income over the past 12 months.
Check a company’s net income each accounting period to monitor its growth progress. A company that is running efficiently and growing its business typically has a higher P/E ratio and increases its net income over time.