I cannot seem to find them on any website, but I have seen their existence for stock ETFs.
If the answer to the question entitled is 'no', then why not? I exemplify with 2 ETFs:

Blackrock (Canada)'s iShares Core High Quality Canadian Bond Index ETF (Ticker: TSX:XQB) lists no P/E ratio. TD Waterhouse's research page, indicates useless -- on the right of P/E ratio.

Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund ETF Shares (Ticker: NASDAQ:BNDX) lists no any P/E ratio. TD Waterhouse's research page, indicates useless -- on the right of P/E ratio.

3 Answers 3


The simple answer is technically bonds don't have earnings, hence no P/E.

What I think the OP is really asking how do I compare stock and bond ETFs. Some mature stocks exhibit very similar characteristics to bonds, so at the margin if you are considering investing between 2 such investments that provide stable income in the form of dividends, you might want to use the dividend/price ratio (D/P) of the stock and compare it to the dividend yield of the bond.

If you go down to the basics, both the bond and the stock can be considered the present value of all future expected cashflows. The cash that accrues to the owner of the stock is future dividends and for the bond is the coupon payments.

If a company were to pay out 100% of its earnings, then the dividend yield D/P would be conveniently E/P. For a company with P/E of 20 that paid out it's entire earnings, one would expect D/P = 1/20 = 5%

This serves as a decent yard stick in the short term ~ 1 year to compare mature stock etfs with stable prospects vs bond funds since the former will have very little expected price growth (think utilities), hence they both compete on the cashflows they throw off to the investor.

This comparison stops being useful for stock ETFs with higher growth prospects since expected future cashflows are much more volatile. This comparison is also not valid in the long term since bond ETFs are highly sensitive to the yield curve (interest rate risk) and they can move substantially from where they are now.

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    Regarding your last paragraph: many bond ETF issuers do specify the duration, which will give you an indication how its price will react to interest rate changes. Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 17:04

A bond fund has a 5% yield. You can take 1/.05 and think of it as a 20 P/E.

I wouldn't, because no one else does, really. An individual bond has a coupon yield, and a YTM, yield to maturity. A bond fund or ETF usually won't have a maturity, only a yield.


How would you compute the earnings for governments that are some of the main issuers of bonds and debt? When governments run deficits they would have a negative earnings ratio that makes the calculation quite hard to evaluate.

  • One of those times answering a question with a question is fitting. My motherinlaw seems to have perfected this. You can also look at corporate bonds, how would you do the P/E math there, even for those companies running a nice profit. Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 20:13

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