Is P/E relevant or a relic?

It may be just a number but it causes heated debates. One side says that it takes too much but gives too little, while the other swears by its miracle-working power

Published 2 years ago on Jul 26, 2021 27 minutes Read
Marcellus Investment Managers' Saurabh Mukherjea and Abakkus Asset Manager's Sunil Singhania.

The relevance of P/E multiple, from when Benjamin Graham taught the world how to make a killing by investing in low-P/E stocks, has waned. Investing strategy has evolved and become more sophisticated, by looking at earnings through a prism of quality, predictability and durability, as professed by Warren Buffet, and the people have become accustomed to paying a quality premium for good companies. With the heightened uncertainty over the past few years, the low interest rates and the way technology is disrupting traditional businesses, the debate on the utility of P/E and if it is a magic number is back. Is P/E relevant as an investment metric? That is the topic of discussion at Outlook Business Investment Summit 2021, and there are two eminent panelists to help us crack that mystery. One is Sunil Singhania, a familiar face in the Indian investing scene, having spent the last 40-plus years managing funds for Reliance Mutual Fund, which is now Nippon India Mutual Fund, with great success and is now running his own PMS called Abakkus Asset Manager. The other is Saurabh Mukherjea, with a remarkable career trajectory. He started out 13 years ago in the Indian markets, built a broking business for Ambit and now manages his own PMS, Marcellus Investment Managers. The conversation is anchored by editor N Mahalakshmi.