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Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio


The Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio is a financial metric that evaluates a company’s stock price relative to its cash flow per share. It is calculated by dividing the market value per share by the cash flow per share. This ratio is often used by investors to determine the company’s financial health and profitability.


The phonetics of “Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio” is: /praɪs tuː kæʃ floʊ ˈreɪʃiˌoʊ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Indicates Investors’ Willingness to Pay: The Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio, or P/CF ratio, is a metric used by investors to determine how much they’re willing to pay for each dollar of cash flow a company produces. It’s a valuation ratio that compares a company’s market price with its cash flow from operations. A lower P/CF ratio can indicate a potentially undervalued investment.
  2. Alternative to PE Ratio: This ratio serves as an alternative to the Price-to-Earnings (PE) ratio, particularly in situations where a company’s earnings can be affected by non-cash items such as depreciation, making P/CF a more reliable indicator of financial health.
  3. Comparison Within Industry: P/CF ratio is most useful when comparing companies within the same industry, as it can help determine which companies are more efficiently generating cash flow. However, it’s important to note that the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ value of P/CF ratio can vary from one sector to another.


The Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio is an important tool in business and finance as it provides a more accurate valuation of a company’s worth compared to earnings or book value assessments. It measures the value of a firm’s stock price relative to its operating cash flow per share. This is crucial because it essentially shows how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of cash flow, indicating the company’s ability to generate cash, which can be used for expansion, dividends, or reducing debt. Therefore, it allows investors and analysts to gauge the profitability and financial health of the company, helping them make informed investment decisions. Due to its focus on cash flow rather than earnings, it is less susceptible to manipulation through accounting practices, offering a more transparent picture of a company’s financial position.


The Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio is an important financial metric used by investors and analysts to assess the overall financial health and performance of a company. It plays a crucial role in determining the value of a company by comparing the company’s stock price to its operating cash flow. This ratio reflects the ability of a firm to generate cash, providing investors with insights into the potential for future growth, profitability, and company stability. In simple terms, it signals how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of cash a company generates.Primarily, the Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio is used for identifying undervalued stocks in the market. For instance, a lower ratio could indicate that a company’s stock is undervalued, meaning it could be a good investment. On the contrary, a higher ratio might suggest that the company is overvalued or that it isn’t generating sufficient cash flow. Therefore, investors can use this ratio as a useful tool, along with other financial indicators, to make informed decisions about potential investments. It’s also crucial for potential creditors and lenders who are looking into a company’s ability to repay its debts.


Certainly, the Price-to-Cash Flow ratio is an important valuation metric in finance. Here are three example scenarios in use:1. ** Inc. (AMZN)**: In May of 2019, Amazon’s stock price was around $1,900 per share. In 2018, Amazon’s cash flow per share was around $66. At that time, Amazon’s Price-to-Cash Flow ratio was approximately 29 ($1900/$66). This would signify for investors that they are paying 29 times the cash flow per share to acquire the stock, which may be high compared to other companies in a similar industry.2. **Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A)**: Suppose, at the end of 2019, given a stock price of $60, and a positive cash flow per share of $12.5 that the company reported for that year, the Price-to-Cash Flow ratio for Royal Dutch Shell would be calculated as $60/$12.5 = 4.8. In this case, an investor would pay 4.8 times the cash flow per share. Often, Oil & Gas companies like Shell carry lower Price-to-Cash Flow ratios as a nature of their industry.3. **General Electric Co. (GE)**: In the second quarter of 2021, GE’s stock price was approximately $13 per share. If their cash flow per share was reported to be $1 for that timeframe, then their Price-to-Cash Flow ratio is 13 ($13/$1). This ratio would help investors understand how much they’re paying for each dollar of GE’s cash flow – leading them to potentially analyze the stock further and decide whether they think it’s a worthwhile investment. Note that investors use this metric, along with many others, to form a more complete picture of a company’s financial health and stability. Different businesses, sectors, industries may have distinct typical Value/Cash Flow ratios.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio?

Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio is a financial metric that helps investors evaluate a company’s stock price against its cash flow from operations per share. It measures how much cash a company generates in relation to its stock price, providing an indicator of the company’s financial health and profitability.

How do you calculate the Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio?

The Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio is calculated by dividing the market value per share by the cash flow per share. The market value per share is the current market price of a company’s stock, and the cash flow per share is the total cash flow from operations divided by the total number of outstanding shares.

What does a high Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio indicate?

A high Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio can indicate that the market expects the company to have strong future growth, or it may suggest that the company’s stock is overvalued in relation to its cash flow generation.

What does a low Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio imply?

A low Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio could suggest that the company’s stock may be undervalued, or it could indicate that the company is not generating sufficient cash flow.

How does the Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio differ from other financial ratios?

Unlike other financial ratios, the Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio considers the cash a company generates, not just company earnings or profits. It’s not as affected by subjective accounting decisions and can be a more accurate measure of a company’s financial condition.

What should I consider when analyzing the Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio?

It’s important to compare the Price-to-Cash Flow Ratio of a company against its competitors or industry average to get a proper benchmark. Also, it’s essential to observe trends over time rather than looking at a single period since it can vary greatly from one accounting period to another.

Related Finance Terms

  • Market Capitalization: The total value of a company’s outstanding shares of stock, calculated by multiplying share price by the number of shares.
  • Cash Flow: The amount of cash or cash equivalent that comes into and goes out of a company.
  • Operating Cash Flow: Cash generated from the primary activities of a business, used in calculating the price-to-cash flow ratio.
  • Financial Analysis: The process of evaluating businesses, projects, budgets, and other finance-related transactions to determine their performance and suitability.
  • Valuation Metrics: Measurements used by financial analysts to assess a company’s investment value, such as the price-to-cash flow ratio.

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