# Is MMA Capital Management LLC’s (NASDAQ:MMAC) PE Ratio A Signal To Buy For Investors?

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to begin learning the link between MMA Capital Management LLC (NASDAQ:MMAC)’s fundamentals and stock market performance.

MMA Capital Management LLC (NASDAQ:MMAC) is trading with a trailing P/E of 6.9x, which is lower than the industry average of 22.4x. Although some investors may jump to the conclusion that this is a great buying opportunity, understanding the assumptions behind the P/E ratio might change your mind. In this article, I will deconstruct the P/E ratio and highlight what you need to be careful of when using the P/E ratio.

### What you need to know about the P/E ratio

The P/E ratio is a popular ratio used in relative valuation since earnings power is a key driver of investment value. By comparing a stock’s price per share to its earnings per share, we are able to see how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.

Formula

Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share

P/E Calculation for MMAC

Price per share = \$26.25

Earnings per share = \$3.794

∴ Price-Earnings Ratio = \$26.25 ÷ \$3.794 = 6.9x

On its own, the P/E ratio doesn’t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful when you compare it with other similar companies. Ultimately, our goal is to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to MMAC, such as company lifetime and products sold. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. Since similar companies should technically have similar P/E ratios, we can very quickly come to some conclusions about the stock if the ratios differ.

At 6.9x, MMAC’s P/E is lower than its industry peers (22.4x). This implies that investors are undervaluing each dollar of MMAC’s earnings. As such, our analysis shows that MMAC represents an under-priced stock.

### A few caveats

Before you jump to the conclusion that MMAC represents the perfect buying opportunity, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two important assertions. The first is that our peer group actually contains companies that are similar to MMAC. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to some other factors. For example, if you accidentally compared higher growth firms with MMAC, then MMAC’s P/E would naturally be lower since investors would reward its peers’ higher growth with a higher price. Alternatively, if you inadvertently compared less risky firms with MMAC, MMAC’s P/E would again be lower since investors would reward its peers’ lower risk with a higher price as well. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing MMAC to are fairly valued by the market. If this does not hold, there is a possibility that MMAC’s P/E is lower because firms in our peer group are being overvalued by the market.

### What this means for you:

If your personal research into the stock confirms what the P/E ratio is telling you, it might be a good time to add more of MMAC to your portfolio. But keep in mind that the usefulness of relative valuation depends on whether you are comfortable with making the assumptions I mentioned above. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

1. Financial Health: Is MMAC’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
2. Past Track Record: Has MMAC been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of MMAC’s historicals for more clarity.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.