For years tech investors eagerly awaited each new quarter to determine yet again how much Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) was dominating the semiconductor industry. The explosive growth of personal computers (PCs) followed by that of servers and laptops drove incredible growth quarter after quarter and year after year. Those days are long over as PC growth has stalled and laptop pricing has been hammered by foreign competition and by mobile devices. In 2013 and beyond, semiconductor sales and growth is all about smartphones and the cloud. The question is, who will be the leaders going forward?
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung Electronics are dominating world smartphone sales, and cloud storage and computing are reshaping the PC and server market.s UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) believes those two areas will dominate this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
They also see this as a defining year for Intel, which needs to demonstrate its ability to combine process and architecture to gain a decisive advantage in its quest to move beyond tablets and challenge Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) in the highly competitive and profitable smartphone market.
Given the huge worldwide growth at all price points in the smartphone market, it is no wonder companies biased to that market are at the top of the list for this year at UBS. Their top picks for 2013 are: Avago Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: AVGO), Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM), Linear Technology Corp. (NASDAQ: LLTC), Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM).
It turns out that UBS is not alone in the upside expectations for some of these new focus stocks in the realm of semiconductors. We have used the Thomson Reuters mean price target objective as the consensus analyst price target, and the expected (or implied) gains are as follows:
- Avago has about 26% upside to its $40.79 target.
- Broadcom has about 19% upside to its $40.70 target.
- Linear Tech is the stand-out stock because its trades above its $33.73 consensus target.
- Nvidia has about 20% upside to its $15.44 target.
- Qualcomm has about 13% upside to its $72.50 target.
With smartphone sales ramping up in China and constant technological change providing consumers a never-ending array of new capability delivered ever faster, the ability of semiconductor firms to stay on the cutting edge of that change will determine their success of failure.