Shares of Samsung Electronics Co., battered by downgrades by institutional players after the world’s largest chipmaker delivered the lowest results in nearly two years in preliminary fourth-quarter income report, won’t likely recover in full gear until the second half, analysts agree.
Samsung Electronics shares ended Tuesday 1.7 percent lower at 38,100 won ($34.05) after the company estimated its operating profit for the fourth quarter ended December 2018 dipped 38.5 percent to 10.8 trillion won. The figure was sharply below the market consensus of 13.38 trillion won and the worst performance since 9.9 trillion won in the first quarter of 2017.
The stock gained 3.94 percent to end at 39,600 won on Wednesday, but still hovers 30 percent below 53,000 won, the price on May 4 when it resumed trading after a 50:1 stock-split.
Market analysts forecast the tech giant’s shares to stay subdued throughout the first half of this year with an expectation that the company’s earnings for the first quarter would further deteriorate. Kim Dong-won, an analyst at KB Securities predicted Samsung Electronics’ operating profit would even dip below 10 trillion won in the first half.
The earnings prospect for Samsung Electronics is grim as the memory chip industry has already entered a down cycle after enjoying a two-year-long boom. Nearly 80 percent of the company’s best-ever income and revenue came from the chip division last year.
The company also makes consumer electronics including smartphones, TVs and white goods, but its dominance in the global smartphone market is under threat by the ascent of Chinese peers amid stagnant demand for premium phones.
The disappointing fourth-quarter numbers led analysts to revise down their price targets for Samsung Electronics shares. NH Investment & Securities lowered the company’s price target to 50,000 won from 54,000 won, Hi Investment & Securities to 46,000 won from 48,000 won, and KB Securities to 45,000 won from 48,000 won. Price target reflects an analyst`s expectation for the maximum future price of a security for a one-year period based on a company’s growth prospect and estimated earnings.
But further losses in the price are limited, given the devaluation level of the blue-chip stock. The company’s price-to-book ratio, which compares the market value of a company’s share price to its book value, is 1x, near its record low of 0.94x. A lower P/B ratio means the stock is undervalued. In reversed calculation by multiplying the P/B ratio of 0.94, the company’s stock price should come at 35,400 won that pays dividend at a yield of 4 percent, therefore a level where the stock would bottom out.
By Park Eui-myung and Cho Jeehyun
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