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Read This Before You Buy Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

Ben Rossbaum

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Intel Corporation’s (NASDAQ:INTC) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Intel has a price to earnings ratio of 14.7, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 6.8%.

View our latest analysis for Intel

How Do You Calculate Intel’s P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Intel:

P/E of 14.7 = $48.01 ÷ $3.27 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each $1 of company earnings. That isn’t necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

It’s great to see that Intel grew EPS by 11% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 6.5% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, you might expect an above average P/E ratio.

How Does Intel’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. If you look at the image below, you can see Intel has a lower P/E than the average (17.8) in the semiconductor industry classification.

NasdaqGS:INTC PE PEG Gauge January 10th 19

Intel’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Intel, it’s quite possible it could surprise on the upside. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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 Intel’s P/E?

Intel has net debt worth just 6.8% of its market capitalization. The market might award it a higher P/E ratio if it had net cash, but its unlikely this low level of net borrowing is having a big impact on the P/E multiple.

The Verdict On Intel’s P/E Ratio

Intel has a P/E of 14.7. That’s below the average in the US market, which is 16.8. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low. Since analysts are predicting growth will continue, one might expect to see a higher P/E so it may be worth looking closer.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. 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.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.