Oppenheimer’s List of Semiconductor Stocks to Buy (BRCM, SMTC, SWKS, MXIM, LLTC, AAPL, MSCC)

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We have reported at great length how the world of semiconductors has changed drastically in the past five years. A business that was once dominated by personal computers, laptops and servers is now is overshadowed by the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets. With a host of new product offerings expected in the upcoming second quarter, it may be time for investors to overweight some of the dominant semiconductor names.

In a report issued today, the semiconductor analysts at Oppenheimer noted a surprising change in the industry attitude from the same time last year. They attribute this change to a general improvement in orders. Several companies the firm spoke with are tracking toward the high-end of their first quarter guidance. The “1Q as trough” view is now nearly unanimous. Channel inventory appears normal/low outside of the smartphone and tablet segment.

If companies are tracking near the high-end of their guidance and deliver strong second-quarter earnings, this could have a big effect on the stock price. The team at Oppenheimer presented a list of their top semiconductor names with a product line that is skewed to the smartphone/tablet world. Those stocks are:

Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) makes chips for wired and wireless communications that offer voice, video, data and multimedia connectivity in the home, office and mobile environments. The stock closed yesterday at $33.64 and has a Thomson/First Call price target of $40.

Semtech Corp. (NASDAQ: SMTC) has been on fire recently, after beating estimates and raising guidance. The stock closed yesterday at $30.72 and has a Wall St. consensus estimate of $35.

Highly shorted Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (NASDAQ: MXIM) may provide tremendous opportunity, with an earnings beat in the second quarter. Closing yesterday at $31.80, it has a consensus target of $35.

Skyworks Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: SWKS) is also a top name to buy at Oppenheimer. Many view this one as too highly dependent on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). An increase in Apple product sales could have a meaningful contribution to their earnings. The consensus price target is $30. That could be a big move from the $21.16 close yesterday.

The Oppenheimer team also tips their research hat to Linear Technology Corp. (NASDAQ: LLTC), which has a consensus price target of $37.70, and Microsemi Corp. (NASDAQ: MSCC) as secondary names that could do well in an uncertain macro environment.

At the end of the day, it is important for investors to carve out a portion of their portfolio dollars for companies that are exposed to the smartphone and tablet explosion. It is very possible that we are still in the early innings of a product cycle that will expand and grow for years. Changing and improving technology almost assures that possibility.

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