Why These Chip Stocks Are the Best Way to Play Big Data Now

Data growth may be the most underestimated factor in technology today. Connected devices, which can include everything from a smartphone to tablets to wearables like a smartwatch to devices in a car, are expected to grow from 15 billion today to 50 billion by 2020. In a new research report, the analysts at Credit Suisse maintain that one of the best ways to play this enormous explosion in big data is via the chip industry. They see the greatest upside potential in solid-state memory, cloud and analytic infrastructure and, to a lesser degree, networking.

Here are the top chip stocks to buy from Credit Suisse for investors looking to exploit the explosion in big data. These stocks are all rated Outperform.

Analog Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: ADI) is a top chip name in networking at Credit Suisse. The company is engaged in the design, manufacture and marketing of analog, mixed-signal and digital signal processing integrated circuits (ICs) for use in industrial, automotive, consumer and communication markets worldwide. The stock has for the most part avoided the huge tech sell-off. Investors are paid a 2.8% dividend. The Credit Suisse price target is $55. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $53.85. The stock closed Friday at $52.09 a share.

Freescale Semiconductor Ltd. (NYSE: FSL) is a global leader in embedded processing solutions, providing industry leading products that are advancing the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets — from microprocessors and microcontrollers to sensors, analog ICs and connectivity. The stock has actually seen estimates rise over the past month for the current fiscal year by about 4.8%. The Credit Suisse price target is $30 and the consensus is at $24.28. The stock closed Friday at $24.07.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) is another Outperform-rated name from Credit Suisse and the top pick in the huge data analytics arena. A new and more focused commitment to smartphone and mobile applications, combined with a possible leveling off of PC growth this year, may make Intel one of the best large cap value stocks to buy, especially in a choppy market. Intel trades at a very low 13.5 times forward earnings. Investors are paid a solid 3.4% dividend. Credit Suisse has a $30 price target, while the consensus target is $25.43. Intel closed Friday at $26.18.

Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) just posted solid earnings for the most recent quarter and the stock is down more than 15% in the recent monster sell-off. The company, which is a leader in DRAM chip sales and is one of the top Credit Suisse memory picks, has seen a nice streak of beating earnings estimates, especially when looking at the previous two reports. Micron exceeded estimates by at least 35% in both cases, suggesting it has a nice short-term history of crushing expectations. The Credit Suisse price target is $30, and the consensus price target is $28.33. Micron closed Friday at $21.13.

SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) is another top stock that is rated Outperform at Credit Suisse. SanDisk’s quality, state-of-the-art solutions are at the heart of many of the world’s largest data centers, as well as embedded in advanced smart phones, tablets and PCs. Investors are paid a 1.2% dividend. The company is another of the top memory names at Credit Suisse, which has a price target of $85. The consensus figure is at $81.93, and the stock closed Friday at $73.65.

Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) rounds out the top names to buy at Credit Suisse. The company’s programmable devices comprise ICs in the form of programmable logic devices (PLDs), such as programmable system on chips, and three dimensional ICs; software design tools to program the PLDs; targeted reference designs; printed circuit boards; and intellectual property, which consists of Xilinx and various third-party verification and IP cores. Investors receive a 1.2% dividend. The Credit Suisse target is $50, while the consensus number is $54.29. Xilinx closed Friday at $51.15.

The data explosion does not care about the recent market sell-off. It will continue unabated, whether the stock market is up or down. It is important for investors to look forward, past the current market volatility to where the money will be made in the near and more distant future. Speculative momentum stocks with gigantic beta and price-to-earnings ratios are getting crushed. Many of these top chip names have held up well. Investors should consider scaling in some capital now, why the opportunity is there.

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