Read This Before You Buy FormFactor, Inc. (NASDAQ:FORM) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to FormFactor, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FORM), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. FormFactor has a P/E ratio of 13.28, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 7.5%.

Check out our latest analysis for FormFactor

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 FormFactor:

P/E of 13.28 = $18.83 ÷ $1.42 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each $1 the company has earned over the last year. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

Does FormFactor Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that FormFactor has a lower P/E than the average (27.4) P/E for companies in the semiconductor industry.

NasdaqGS:FORM Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 25th 2019
NasdaqGS:FORM Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 25th 2019

FormFactor’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry.

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. 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.

FormFactor’s earnings made like a rocket, taking off 250% last year. Even better, EPS is up 61% per year over three years. So we’d absolutely expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio. The market might expect further growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

How Does FormFactor’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

The extra options and safety that comes with FormFactor’s US$131m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

The Bottom Line On FormFactor’s P/E Ratio

FormFactor’s P/E is 13.3 which is below average (17.8) in the US market. It grew its EPS nicely over the last year, and the healthy balance sheet implies there is more potential for growth. One might conclude that the market is a bit pessimistic, given the low P/E ratio.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than FormFactor. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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. Thank you for reading.