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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Data I/O Corporation (NASDAQ:DAIO) Still Undervalued?

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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Data I/O Corporation's (NASDAQ:DAIO), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Data I/O has a P/E ratio of 27.71, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $27.71 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

View our latest analysis for Data I/O

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Data I/O:

P/E of 27.71 = $3.79 ÷ $0.14 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each $1 the company has earned over the last year. That isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Does Data I/O's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Data I/O has a higher P/E than the average (19.0) P/E for companies in the electronic industry.

NasdaqCM:DAIO Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 30th 2019
NasdaqCM:DAIO Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 30th 2019

Data I/O's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Data I/O shrunk earnings per share by 71% over the last year.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

Data I/O's Balance Sheet

With net cash of US$15m, Data I/O has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 49% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On Data I/O's P/E Ratio

Data I/O has a P/E of 27.7. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 17.9. Falling earnings per share is probably keeping traditional value investors away, but the net cash position means the company has time to improve: and the high P/E suggests the market thinks it will.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.