Deutsche Bank Warns Chip Stocks Too Expensive, Except a Few

After outperforming the market in 2013 by 6% and in the first quarter of this year by 8%, the chip stocks, for the most part, have a problem. They are plain and simple too expensive. In a new report, the chip analysts at Deutsche Bank said the sector is fully pricing in all the good news, and if companies miss their numbers or present lackluster guidance they could get hit — and hit hard. The SOX Index that tracks the sector is up 35% year over year, yet there has been no change to 2014 earnings estimates. They have a Neutral rating on the sector, and in the entire universe have just three stocks to buy now.

Here are the three chip stocks that the Deutsche Bank analysts still have rated as Buy, despite a cautious stance on the sector as a whole.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) makes the list of stocks as the mega-cap stock to buy at Deutsche Bank, and it is one of the few tech stocks that has dodged the recent massive sell-off. In fact, the stock is trading only slightly below a 52-week high. It was also one of the highest yielding UBS Dividend Ruler stocks. The company has broken away from its total dependence on PC growth and is rapidly scaling into mobile and other high-growth areas. Intel pays investors an outstanding 3.4% dividend. The Deutsche Bank price target for the stock is $28. The Thomson/First Call target is set at $25.38. Intel closed Tuesday at $26.91.

NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) makes the list as the top large-cap pick at Deutsche Bank. NXP was one of the winners when it came to supplying chip sets for the hot new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. The company’s NXP 47803 NFC Controller and Secure Element actually replaces another competitor’s parts and could be a $50 million to $60 million opportunity. The Deutsche Bank price target is $75, and the consensus is at $60.82. The stock closed Tuesday at $58.23 a share.

ON Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: ONNN) rounds on the small list of chip stocks to buy at Deutsche Bank, and is the firm’s small-cap selection. Like the other two stocks that are favored, ON Semiconductor has also dodged the severe technology sell-off and recently printed a 52-week high. The company recently purchased Truesense Imaging, a provider of high-performance image sensor devices addressing a wide range of industrial end-markets, including machine vision, surveillance, traffic monitoring, medical and scientific imaging and photography. The acquisition of Truesense Imaging strongly complements ON Semiconductor’s image-sensor business by vastly expanding its technology portfolio and adding more than 200 new customers. The Deutsche Bank price target is $12, and the consensus target is $10.59. Shares ended Tuesday at $9.89.

The three stocks that Deutsche Bank still does like have a few items in common. They are all trading near highs and have shown very positive relative strength. They all managed to dodge the huge sell-off, which means portfolio managers do not feel they are fully valued. Lastly, they all are expanding and adding new product lines to their existing core businesses.

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