Stock Analysis

There's Reason For Concern Over CSP Inc.'s (NASDAQ:CSPI) Massive 38% Price Jump

NasdaqGM:CSPI
Source: Shutterstock

CSP Inc. (NASDAQ:CSPI) shares have had a really impressive month, gaining 38% after a shaky period beforehand. The annual gain comes to 138% following the latest surge, making investors sit up and take notice.

Since its price has surged higher, CSP may be sending very bearish signals at the moment with a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 27.8x, since almost half of all companies in the United States have P/E ratios under 16x and even P/E's lower than 9x are not unusual. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly elevated P/E.

Recent times have been quite advantageous for CSP as its earnings have been rising very briskly. It seems that many are expecting the strong earnings performance to beat most other companies over the coming period, which has increased investors’ willingness to pay up for the stock. If not, then existing shareholders might be a little nervous about the viability of the share price.

View our latest analysis for CSP

pe-multiple-vs-industry
NasdaqGM:CSPI Price to Earnings Ratio vs Industry February 14th 2024
Want the full picture on earnings, revenue and cash flow for the company? Then our free report on CSP will help you shine a light on its historical performance.

Is There Enough Growth For CSP?

There's an inherent assumption that a company should far outperform the market for P/E ratios like CSP's to be considered reasonable.

Taking a look back first, we see that the company grew earnings per share by an impressive 166% last year. Still, EPS has barely risen at all from three years ago in total, which is not ideal. Therefore, it's fair to say that earnings growth has been inconsistent recently for the company.

This is in contrast to the rest of the market, which is expected to grow by 13% over the next year, materially higher than the company's recent medium-term annualised growth rates.

With this information, we find it concerning that CSP is trading at a P/E higher than the market. Apparently many investors in the company are way more bullish than recent times would indicate and aren't willing to let go of their stock at any price. Only the boldest would assume these prices are sustainable as a continuation of recent earnings trends is likely to weigh heavily on the share price eventually.

The Final Word

Shares in CSP have built up some good momentum lately, which has really inflated its P/E. Generally, our preference is to limit the use of the price-to-earnings ratio to establishing what the market thinks about the overall health of a company.

Our examination of CSP revealed its three-year earnings trends aren't impacting its high P/E anywhere near as much as we would have predicted, given they look worse than current market expectations. When we see weak earnings with slower than market growth, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the high P/E lower. If recent medium-term earnings trends continue, it will place shareholders' investments at significant risk and potential investors in danger of paying an excessive premium.

We don't want to rain on the parade too much, but we did also find 1 warning sign for CSP that you need to be mindful of.

It's important to make sure you look for a great company, not just the first idea you come across. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a low P/E).

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether CSP is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.