Consumer Electronics

After The Fall: Value & Upside In Chip Stocks As Summer Heat Awaits (INTC, QCOM, BRCM, NVDA, AMD, TSM, MU, FSL, SNDK, AMAT, ALTR, LRCX, SMH, XSD, USD)

The recent sell-off has been brutal to semiconductors and chip stocks of late.  To make matters worse, investing in technology and semiconductors can be brutal during the summer months.  Still, many investors believe that where there is risk there is also reward and trying to nail an exact bottom is no easy task.

With warnings having started from key leaders in the realm of chip stocks, the question is whether or not you can trust the analysts and the consensus upside.  24/7 Wall St. has gone in and evaluated the leaders in each aspect of the semiconductor sector to see where there is value and where the risks currently lie.  We evaluated the following chip companies: Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC); QUALCOMM Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM); Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN); Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM); NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA); Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE: AMD); Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (NYSE: TSM); Freescale Semiconductor Holdings (NYSE: FSL); SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK); Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT); Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ: LRCX); and Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR).

In a further effort to show just how much these have sold off, we have shown the moves in the following key semiconductor ETFs: Market Vectors Semiconductor ETF (AMEX: SMH); SPDR S&P Semiconductor (AMEX: XSD); and the ProShares Ultra Semiconductors (AMEX: USD).  We have also run the same screens in retail, gold and silver miners, conglomerates, industrial giants, and major oil companies with links to those at the end of this article. Here is the screening of value and upside in the chip giants:

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) traded at $26.60 with a market value of $129 billion.  The consensus target price for the king of PC processors from Thomson Reuters is $29.75 and the 52-week trading range is $19.16 to $29.27.  This DJIA component’s most recent yield was listed as 3.2%. Intel’s implied upside to the consensus target is 16% and it is worth noting that the consensus target is just above the 52-week high.

QUALCOMM Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) traded at $57.78 with a market value of $99 billion.  The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $71.92 and the 52-week trading range is $45.98 to $68.87.  The CDMA giant yields about 1.7% after dividend hikes. The implied upside to the consensus target is just under 25% but we would note that the consensus target is still over $3.00 above the 52-week high.

Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) traded at $29.15 with a market value of $33.4 billion.  The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $35.80 and the 52-week trading range is $24.34 to $35.30.  The yield here is about 2.3%. TI’s implied upside to the consensus target is just under 23% and that target is still just above its 52-week high.

Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) traded at $31.85 with a market value of $17.5 billion.  The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $43.21 and the 52-week trading range is $27.59 to $39.66.  Broadcom has a paltry yield of only about 1.2%, but its implied upside to the consensus target is about 35%.  Be advised that this consensus target is almost $4.00 above the 52-week high.

NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) trades at $12.25 and its market cap is just over $7.5 billion. This graphics processor leader has a consensus target price of $16.64 and the 52-week trading range is $11.47 to $20.05.  NVIDIA pays no dividend and that is something which it should consider changing since it has about $3 billion in cash and liquidity. Its implied upside to the consensus target is about 35% and that consensus target price is well under its 52-week high.

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE: AMD) trades at $6.06 and its market cap is only $4.25 billion despite it being so actively traded. The consensus target price for this distant number-2 in PC processors is $8.55 and the 52-week trading range is $4.31 to $8.71.  AMD has no dividend due to very spotty earnings. Its implied upside to the consensus target is more than 41% if you trust the analysts here and its target price is just under its 52-week high.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (NYSE: TSM) currently trades at $14.15 for its ADR and Yahoo! Finance shows its market value being about $73 billion.  The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $16.70 and the 52-week trading range is $10.75 to $16.15.  The yield is listed as roughly 2.9%. TSM’s implied upside to the consensus target is 18% and the consensus target is about 4% above the 52-week high.

Freescale Semiconductor Holdings (NYSE: FSL) has been battered since its IPO and shares now trade at $9.75 with an implied market value of $2.4 billion.  This private equity backed chip outfit’s consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is all the way up at $17.92 and the 52-week (less than one-year actually) trading range is $9.43 to $20.97.  Freescale has NO DIVIDEND, which makes it stand out against the peer group now.  Still, if you trust the analysts here the implied upside to the consensus target is a whopping 83%!  Trust is hard to come by here, particularly for a company where backers will sell shares along the way into strength.

SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) trades around $32.50 and its market value is about $7.9 billion.  The king of flash memory’s consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $44.46 and the 52-week trading range is $31.34 to $53.46.  SanDisk has no current dividend, something which may need to change down the road considering that this is not anywhere close to a new company.  Its implied upside to the consensus target is 37% but the company has had two warnings.

Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) currently trades at $10.55 and its market value is $13.6 billion.  The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $13.65 and the 52-week trading range is $9.70 to $13.94.  Applied now yields about 3.4% and its implied upside to the consensus target is about 29%.

Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ: LRCX) is worth more than $4.5 billion today but it is acquiring Novellus Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVLS) for about $3 billion in stock, so it will soon be larger.  Its shares trade at $38.00, its consensus target price is $48.53 and the 52-week trading range is $34.81 to $48.88.  Lam Research pays NO DIVIDEND now and its implied upside is almost 28%.

Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) currently trades at $33.90 and its market value is $10.9 billion.  The consensus target price from Thomson Reuters is $41.00 and the 52-week trading range is $30.39 to $48.91.  Altera has a dink yield of only about 1% and we expect a dividend hike in the coming weeks or months. Its implied upside to the consensus target is about 21% and this one is well off highs and the target is almost $8.00 under its 52-week high.

Market Vectors Semiconductor ETF (AMEX: SMH) has undergone a total transformation since it is no longer the Semiconductor HOLDRs.  At $31.25 its range since the change is listed as $28.86 to $36.17.  This ETF is said to have assets of almost $400 million, but that changes based upon inflows and outflows on top of the change in the price.

SPDR S&P Semiconductor (AMEX: XSD) ETS is now one of the longest ETF in chips since the HOLDRS changed.  At $43.50 now, its 52-week range is $40.09 to $59.85 and it still has only about $44 million in assets.  This one peaked in January and the mix of components has made it more volatile than many leaders.  This ETF would now have to rally by more than 37% to hit its 52-week high again.

ProShares Ultra Semiconductors (AMEX: USD) uses leverage of 2-times for its semiconductor trading, so this is one where it will feel just like getting your fingernails ripped out when your timing is wrong. At $33.50, this leveraged ETF has a 52-week range of $26.18 to $46.46. It would have to rally about 39% to hit its 52-week high again.

As you can see, the semiconductor and chip leaders have now pulled back substantially from their highs seen throughout 2012.  The issue to consider is that Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) have confirmed that PC sales are slowing.  Some of this is due to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and some of it is due to weakness in Europe, weak PC spending in the Americas, and a slowing of growth in the BRIC nations.  How the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) launch of Windows 8 will impact the PC refresh cycle ahead is now another wild card since PC sales guidance is looking softer than anticipated from just a couple of weeks ago.

We also want to warn investors to not just blindly trust the analysts in semiconductor price targets here.  Summer can be a brutal time for chip stocks.  The drop in the ProShares Ultra Semiconductors (AMEX: USD) during the summer of 2011 was about 40% and the drop from the 52-week high in 2011 to that end of summer trough was almost 50%.

The drop in the SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF (AMEX: XSD) during the summer of 2011 was about 25%, but the drop from the peak in early 2011 here to the trough of late-summer was about 31%.

Summer is a very tough time to invest in chip stocks, and the question now is just how much the slowdown is going to continue taking out of chip stocks.  We would certainly avoid trying to play the game of trying to catch falling knives here, but these are all worth keeping an eye on for those inflection points where the valuations start to adequately discount the warning signs.

Gold & Silver Miners with the Most Upside Value  

Major Oil Companies with the Most Upside Value

Industrials with the Most Upside Value  

Conglomerates with the Most Upside Value

Retail Stocks with Upside 

JON C. OGG

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