Margins matter. The more Cypress Semiconductor
Here's the current margin snapshot for Cypress Semiconductor and some of its sector and industry peers and direct competitors.
TTM Gross Margin
TTM Operating Margin
TTM Net Margin
| Texas Instruments
| Avago Technologies
Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. TTM = trailing 12 months.
Unfortunately, that table doesn't tell us much about where Cypress Semiconductor has been, or where it's going. A company with rising gross and operating margins often fuels its growth by increasing demand for its products. If it sells more units while keeping costs in check, its profitability increases. Conversely, a company with gross margins that inch downward over time is often losing out to competition, and possibly engaging in a race to the bottom on prices. If it can't make up for this problem by cutting costs -- and most companies can't -- then both the business and its shares face a decidedly bleak outlook.
Of course, over the short term, the kind of economic shocks we recently experienced can drastically affect a company's profitability. That's why I like to look at five fiscal years' worth of margins, along with the results for the trailing 12 months (TTM), the last fiscal year, and last fiscal quarter (LFQ). You can't always reach a hard conclusion about your company's health, but you can better understand what to expect, and what to watch.
Here's the margin picture for Cypress Semiconductor over the past few years.
Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Dollar amounts in millions. FY= fiscal year. TTM = trailing 12 months.
(Because of seasonality in some businesses, the numbers for the last period on the right -- the TTM figures -- aren't always comparable to the FY results preceding them.)
Here's how the stats break down:
- Over the past five years, gross margin peaked at 47.4% and averaged 43.7%. Operating margin peaked at (0.4%) and averaged (8%). Net margin peaked at 46.6% and averaged (3.8%).
- TTM gross margin is 54.2%, 1,050 basis points better than the five-year average. TTM operating margin is 9.3%, 1,730 basis points better than the five-year average. TTM net margin is 8.2%, 1,200 basis points better than the five-year average.
With recent TTM margins all exceeding historical averages, Cypress Semiconductor looks like it's doing fine.
If you take the time to read past the headlines and crack a filing now and then, you're probably ahead of 95% of the market's individual investors. To stay ahead, learn more about how I use analysis like this to help me uncover the best returns in the stock market. Got an opinion on the margins at Cypress Semiconductor? Let us know in the comments below.
Cypress Semiconductor is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. The Fool owns shares of Intel and Texas Instruments. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.