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Financial Ratios Every Investor Should Know

kokou adzo



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Understanding financial ratios is crucial for investors. These metrics offer insights into a company’s financial health and performance, aiding informed decision-making. In this article, we explore the top four financial ratios every investor should know. From profitability to liquidity, mastering these ratios can significantly enhance your investment strategy. Understanding key financial ratios becomes more accessible with educational content from firms like, dedicated to investor education.

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

The Price-to-Earnings (P/E) ratio is a fundamental metric used by investors to evaluate the relative value of a stock. It is calculated by dividing the current market price of a stock by its earnings per share (EPS). The P/E ratio indicates how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of earnings generated by the company. A high P/E ratio suggests that investors are optimistic about the company’s future earnings growth potential and are willing to pay a premium for the stock.

Investors use the P/E ratio to compare the valuation of different companies within the same industry or sector. A company with a higher P/E ratio relative to its peers may be considered overvalued, while a company with a lower P/E ratio may be considered undervalued.

2. Return on Equity (ROE)

Return on Equity (ROE) is a critical financial metric that measures a company’s profitability and efficiency in generating profits from its shareholders’ equity. It is calculated by dividing net income by shareholders’ equity and is expressed as a percentage. ROE indicates how effectively a company is using its equity to generate profits.

A high ROE is generally seen as a positive sign, indicating that the company is generating substantial profits from its equity. It also suggests that the company is efficient in utilizing its resources to generate returns for shareholders. However, a high ROE may also be a result of financial leverage, which can increase the risk for investors.

On the other hand, a low ROE may indicate that the company is not effectively using its equity to generate profits. It could be a sign of inefficiency or poor financial management. Investors often compare a company’s ROE to its industry peers to assess its performance relative to competitors.

3. Debt-to-Equity Ratio

The Debt-to-Equity (D/E) ratio is a financial metric used to assess a company’s financial leverage by comparing its total debt to its shareholders’ equity. It is calculated by dividing total debt by shareholders’ equity. The D/E ratio indicates the proportion of a company’s financing that comes from debt compared to equity.

A high D/E ratio indicates that a company has more debt relative to its equity, which can be risky as it means the company relies heavily on borrowing to finance its operations. This can lead to higher interest expenses and financial instability, especially in times of economic downturns or rising interest rates.

On the other hand, a low D/E ratio suggests that a company is less reliant on debt financing and may be in a stronger financial position. However, excessively low D/E ratios may indicate that a company is not taking advantage of debt financing to fund growth opportunities.

Investors use the D/E ratio to assess a company’s risk profile and financial health. A high D/E ratio may signal financial distress, while a low D/E ratio may indicate conservative financial management. It’s essential to compare the D/E ratio of a company to its industry peers and historical trends to gain a better understanding of its financial leverage and risk exposure.

4. Current Ratio

The Current Ratio is a financial metric used to measure a company’s ability to pay its short-term obligations with its short-term assets. It is calculated by dividing a company’s current assets by its current liabilities. Current assets include cash, accounts receivable, and inventory, while current liabilities include accounts payable, short-term debt, and other obligations due within one year.

A current ratio greater than 1 indicates that a company has more current assets than current liabilities, suggesting that it can easily cover its short-term debts. This is generally seen as a positive sign of financial health. However, a very high current ratio may indicate that a company is not efficiently using its assets to generate revenue.

Conversely, a current ratio less than 1 may indicate that a company may struggle to meet its short-term obligations with its current assets. This could be a red flag for investors, suggesting potential liquidity issues. However, it’s important to note that the ideal current ratio can vary depending on the industry and the specific circumstances of the company.


Mastering key financial ratios is essential for navigating the stock market. These ratios provide invaluable insights, helping investors make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced investor, understanding and applying these ratios can improve your chances of success in the complex world of investing.


Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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