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Unfortunately for some shareholders, the MIND C.T.I (NASDAQ:MNDO) share price has dived 33% in the last thirty days. Even longer term holders have taken a real hit with the stock declining 23% in the last year.
Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more attractive to potential buyers. In the long term, share prices tend to follow earnings per share, but in the short term prices bounce around in response to short term factors (which are not always obvious). The implication here is that long term investors have an opportunity when expectations of a company are too low. Perhaps the simplest way to get a read on investors' expectations of a business is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). A high P/E ratio means that investors have a high expectation about future growth, while a low P/E ratio means they have low expectations about future growth.
Does MIND C.T.I Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 6.39 that sentiment around MIND C.T.I isn't particularly high. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (37.9) 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. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. 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 fell by 3.4% in the last twelve months. But over the longer term (3 years), earnings per share have increased by 5.5%. And EPS is down 2.4% a year, over the last 5 years. So you wouldn't expect a very high P/E.
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.
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?
With net cash of US$15m, MIND C.T.I has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 47% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.
The Bottom Line On MIND C.T.I's P/E Ratio
MIND C.T.I has a P/E of 6.4. That's below the average in the US market, which is 12.2. Falling earnings per share are likely to be keeping potential buyers away, but the net cash position means the company has time to improve: if so, the low P/E could be an opportunity. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become more pessimistic about MIND C.T.I over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 9.5 back then to 6.4 today. For those who prefer invest in growth, this stock apparently offers limited promise, but the deep value investors may find the pessimism around this stock enticing.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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.
But note: MIND C.T.I may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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. Thank you for reading.