To the annoyance of some shareholders, ON Semiconductor (NASDAQ:ON) shares are down a considerable 31% in the last month. Indeed the recent decline has arguably caused some bitterness for shareholders who have held through the 37% drop over twelve months.
All else being equal, a share price drop should make a stock more attractive to potential investors. 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. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock 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 ON Semiconductor Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
ON Semiconductor has a P/E ratio of 25.02. As you can see below ON Semiconductor has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the semiconductor industry, which is 25.4.
That indicates that the market expects ON Semiconductor will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. Checking factors such as director buying and selling. could help you form your own view on if that will happen.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
ON Semiconductor's earnings per share fell by 65% in the last twelve months. But EPS is up 3.6% over the last 5 years.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).
Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.
How Does ON Semiconductor's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
ON Semiconductor has net debt worth 51% of its market capitalization. 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 Bottom Line On ON Semiconductor's P/E Ratio
ON Semiconductor's P/E is 25.0 which is above average (13.0) in its market. With meaningful debt and a lack of recent earnings growth, the market has high expectations that the business will earn more in the future. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become significantly less optimistic about ON Semiconductor over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 36.2 back then to 25.0 today. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for a contrarian, it may signal opportunity.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
But note: ON Semiconductor 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.
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