A quick look at the share price of TTM Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: TTMI) would suggest that a major crisis had befallen the California-based circuit maker. As we’ve come to see in the technology sector, share prices often conceal as much as they reveal.
Powerful sector rotation and the loss of risk appetite crushed technology stocks in the latter half of 2018, with the Nasdaq Composite Index officially entering bear-market territory for the first time since the financial crisis. These factors contributed to TTM’s 45% plunge in the latter half of the year. Investors should use this as an opportunity to snatch up the company while it’s still dirt cheap. Below we explain why.
SOLID BUSINESS, CONSISTENT EARNINGS BEAT
TTM’s most recent earnings report confirmed that the stock meltdown of Q4 was largely overblown and due to factors outside of the company’s immediate control. The circuit-board maker generated per-share earnings of 52 cents in Q4 2018, easily surpassing the consensus estimate of 47 cents per share. Earnings have positively surprised analysts in three of the last four quarters.
On the top line, fourth-quarter sales amounted to $710.97 million, some 0.2% higher than expected.
Analysts at Zacks Investment Research expect another solid quarter of earnings and revenue growth for the Costa Mesa company. Based on current metrics, TTM Technologies will report full-year earnings of $1.71 per share, a figure expected to rise to $1.78 for the next fiscal year.
Looking beyond the quarterly scorecard, TTM Technologies is significantly more profitable than its rivals in the semiconductor industry. The company has a net profit equivalent to 6% of its incoming revenue, far more impressive than the 1% or below that is typically seen in the industry.
Much of the angst surrounding TTM and other commoditized sectors stems from the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, which has threatened to sabotage what little remains of the ‘synchronized global recovery’. TTM is an American company that operates specialized facilities in China with a huge end market in that country. Naturally, investors are concerned that an escalating tariff war and the resulting slowdown in Chinese consumption may impact the company’s fortunes.
Those fears may be realized in niche markets tied to telecommunications and smartphones, but not printed circuit boards (PCBs), which have become as ubiquitous as electric appliances. Computers, printers, televisions and even microwave ovens rely on PCBs as a primary input. These durable goods aren’t going away anytime soon, a fact that is well reflected in TTM’s earnings growth and net profits.
So, while investors should be concerned about the trade war, its potential impact on TTM Technologies will be far less severe. And while you’re thinking about that, think about this: TTMI shares currently trade around $12.40, or seven times trailing earnings. Last summer, shares traded for more than 20 times earnings. How’s that for undervalued?