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Should We Worry About MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:MOFG) P/E Ratio?

Kyle Sanford

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:MOFG) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Based on the last twelve months, MidWestOne Financial Group’s P/E ratio is 14.84. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $14.84 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for MidWestOne Financial Group

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for MidWestOne Financial Group:

P/E of 14.84 = $25.66 ÷ $1.73 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

If earnings fall then in the future the ‘E’ will be lower. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

MidWestOne Financial Group’s earnings per share fell by 15% in the last twelve months. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 5.8% per year over the last five years. This could justify a pessimistic P/E.

How Does MidWestOne Financial Group’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 roughly the same as MidWestOne Financial Group’s P/E.

NasdaqGS:MOFG PE PEG Gauge January 9th 19
NasdaqGS:MOFG PE PEG Gauge January 9th 19

Its P/E ratio suggests that MidWestOne Financial Group shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. Further research into factors such asmanagement tenure, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining 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).

Is Debt Impacting MidWestOne Financial Group’s P/E?

Net debt totals 67% of MidWestOne Financial Group’s market cap. This is enough debt that you’d have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Verdict On MidWestOne Financial Group’s P/E Ratio

MidWestOne Financial Group has a P/E of 14.8. That’s below the average in the US market, which is 16.7. Given meaningful debt, and a lack of recent growth, the market looks to be extrapolating this recent performance; reflecting low expectations for the future.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. 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.

But note: MidWestOne Financial Group 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).

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.