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Here’s What Mackinac Financial Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MFNC) P/E Is Telling Us

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Mackinac Financial Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MFNC) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Mackinac Financial has a price to earnings ratio of 22.04, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 4.5%.

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How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Mackinac Financial:

P/E of 22.04 = \$14.11 ÷ \$0.64 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

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. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.’

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. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Mackinac Financial saw earnings per share decrease by 44% last year. But EPS is up 1.0% over the last 5 years.

How Does Mackinac Financial’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (14.6) for companies in the banks industry is lower than Mackinac Financial’s P/E.

Mackinac Financial’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

Is Debt Impacting Mackinac Financial’s P/E?

Mackinac Financial has net cash of US\$561k. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Verdict On Mackinac Financial’s P/E Ratio

Mackinac Financial’s P/E is 22 which is above average (16.8) in the US market. The recent drop in earnings per share would make some investors cautious, but the net cash position means the company has time to improve: and the high P/E suggests the market thinks it will.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold they key to an excellent investment decision.

You might be able to find a better buy than Mackinac Financial. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.