Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. To keep it practical, we'll show how MIND C.T.I. Ltd's (NASDAQ:MNDO) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, MIND C.T.I has a P/E ratio of 8.56. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 11.7%.
How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?
The formula for price to earnings is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for MIND C.T.I:
P/E of 8.56 = $2.35 ÷ $0.27 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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 a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business's prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.
How Does MIND C.T.I's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (45.0) for companies in the software industry is higher than MIND C.T.I's P/E.
This suggests that market participants think MIND C.T.I will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.
MIND C.T.I's earnings per share grew by -3.2% in the last twelve months. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 5.0%.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.
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).
Is Debt Impacting MIND C.T.I's P/E?
MIND C.T.I has net cash of US$12m. This is fairly high at 26% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.
The Bottom Line On MIND C.T.I's P/E Ratio
MIND C.T.I's P/E is 8.6 which is below average (17.8) in the US market. Recent earnings growth wasn't bad. And the net cash position gives the company many options. So it's strange that the low P/E indicates low expectations.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. Although we don't have analyst forecasts you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than MIND C.T.I. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.