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Should You Be Tempted To Sell Power Integrations Inc (NASDAQ:POWI) At Its Current PE Ratio?

Michael Crabtree

The content of this article will benefit those of you who are starting to educate yourself about investing in the stock market and want to learn about the link between company’s fundamentals and stock market performance.

Power Integrations Inc (NASDAQ:POWI) trades with a trailing P/E of 74.6, which is higher than the industry average of 23.1. While this might not seem positive, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. Today, I will explain what the P/E ratio is as well as what you should look out for when using it.

Check out our latest analysis for Power Integrations

What you need to know about the P/E ratio

NasdaqGS:POWI PE PEG Gauge September 4th 18

The P/E ratio is one of many ratios used in relative valuation. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.

P/E Calculation for POWI

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

POWI Price-Earnings Ratio = $73.35 ÷ $0.983 = 74.6x

The P/E ratio itself doesn’t tell you a lot; however, it becomes very insightful when you compare it with other similar companies. Our goal is to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to POWI, such as company lifetime and products sold. One way of gathering a peer group is to use firms in the same industry, which is what I’ll do. POWI’s P/E of 74.6 is higher than its industry peers (23.1), which implies that each dollar of POWI’s earnings is being overvalued by investors. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 25 Semiconductor companies in US including ARISE Technologies, Amtech Systems and Daqo New Energy. You could also say that the market is suggesting that POWI is a stronger business than the average comparable company.

A few caveats

Before you jump to conclusions it is important to realise that there are assumptions in this analysis. Firstly, that our peer group contains companies that are similar to POWI. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, if Power Integrations Inc is growing faster than its peers, then it would deserve a higher P/E ratio. Of course, it is possible that the stocks we are comparing with POWI are not fairly valued. So while we can reasonably surmise that it is optimistically valued relative to a peer group, it might be fairly valued, if the peer group is undervalued.

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 rebalance your portfolio and reduce your holdings in POWI. 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 highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for POWI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for POWI’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has POWI 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 POWI’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.

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.