Himax Technologies: Is Now the Time to Buy In?

micro chip
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Shares of Himax Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: HIMX) are on a tear Monday, up more than 10% and setting a new 52-week high in the process. And share volume is nearly double the daily average of almost 8 million shares traded.

The Taiwan-based semiconductor maker got a boost this morning from a price target upgrade to $20 from an analyst. That helped, but the stock price has more than doubled since early September. Himax’s chips are used in display drivers, timing controllers, and various sensor products. It’s liquid crystal on silicon technology (LCoS) is destined for inclusion in Google Glass when that product finally ships.

That ship date could be as late as the fourth quarter, so investors might be jumping the gun a bit here. But it’s also possible that Himax will get some business from either Samsung Electronics or Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), both of which could launch a Google Glass competitor before Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) does.

Whether or not the Glass products are actually launched on schedule remains a gamble at best and how consumers will respond with their wallets is an even bigger gamble. But Himax’s LCoS microdisplays are also used in smartwatches and its controllers and display drivers are used in everything from large TV monitors to smartphones. Those businesses performed very well for Himax in 2013 and revenue growth for the first quarter of 2014 was forecast at 11% above the same period a year ago. Profits remain modest, but the share price growth is making up for relatively little in the way of earnings per share.

Himax shares are trading at $15.49, up 10.9% in the mid-afternoon on Monday. The stock’s 52-week high of $15.72 was set earlier this afternoon and the 52-week low is $3.82. The consensus target price is around $15.00 from 8 analysts.

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