FBR Says Chip Recovery Near End -- 5 Stocks to Buy Now

The semiconductor market has had extraordinary two years after being a market laggard ever since the market hit bottom in March 2009. In fact, last year, the semiconductor SOX index was up a whopping 30%, and it is up 15% so far this year. With new products like the iPhone 6 expected to debut soon, there is still some excitement in the sector, but one Wall Street firms says we may be nearing the finish line.

In a new research report, chip analysts at FBR state they think we are in the middle to latter stages, or what they term as the seventh inning, of the recovery that is already reflected in share prices. They are still scanning the sector for more evidence before calling the top of this semi cycle, but they currently see choppiness and some growing risks.

While FBR still has a list of stocks to buy, many are close to their target prices. We screened the FBR list for stocks that are at least 20% from the firm’s target price. We found five stocks rated Outperform for investors to consider as the chip rally starts to wind down.

Altera Corp. (NASDAQ: ALTR) delivered solid second quarter earnings, beating revenue and earnings estimates. The company is among the leaders in China, and recent data show that is not changing anytime soon. 4G network deployment-related orders from Huawei have surged since earlier this year and have extended into the summer. Sales to Huawei comprise 10% of Altera’s total sales. The multi-year growth trend in China wireless infrastructure deployments should act as a driver for Altera in years to come, with LTE-related capital expenditures expected to increase exponentially in the next two years. Investors receive a 1.7% dividend. The FBR price target is $47, and the Thomson/First Call consensus is much lower at $39.14. The stock closed Tuesday at $33.18. Hitting the FBR target would be a 41% gain.

ARM Holdings plc (NASDAQ: ARMH) has been collaborating with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) in its move to 64-bit technology, which has “raised the stakes” in the high-end smartphone and tablet markets. ARM’s 64-bit chips, which are faster and more powerful and revved up the performance of the new phones, are getting rave reviews. There is also a very solid chance the company will be counted on again by Apple for the iPhone 6. Investors should note that some analysts feel that Intel Corp (NASDAQ: INTC) could take some of ARM’s Apple business. Shareholders are paid a small 0.7% dividend. The FBR price target for the stock is $59. The consensus price target for the stock is $52.64. ARM closed Tuesday at $45.33. Trading to the FBR target would be a 30% gain,

Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) is a global leader and innovator of semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. It is also back to a more solid earnings trajectory that many on Wall Street are positive about. Broadcom products seamlessly deliver voice, video, data, and multimedia connectivity in the home, office, and mobile environments. With the industry’s broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on-a-chip solutions, and a growing focus on wireless in general, this former high high-flyer is a solid stock to own going forward. Investors are paid a 1.3% dividend, The FBR target price is $45,and consensus is set at $42.94. Shares closed trading on Tuesday at $37.59. A trade to the target would be 20% upside for investors.

NXP Semiconductors NV (NASDAQ: NXPI) recently announced that it is now the world’s number one supplier for small-signal discretes. Building on its expertise in high-performance mixed-signal electronics, NXP is driving innovation in the automotive, identification, and mobile industries, and in application areas, including wireless infrastructure, lighting, health care, industrial, consumer tech, and computing. The FBR price target for the stock is posted at $76, and the consensus is at $76.75. NXP closed trading on Tuesday at $62.52. Hitting the target would be a 22% gain.

On Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: ONNN) recently reported revenues of $757.6 million, up 7.2% sequentially and 10.1% year-over-year. Reported revenues came toward the higher end of the company’s expected range of $738.0million to $768.0 million and beat the consensus estimates of $755.0 million. Last spring, the company finalized the purchase Truesense Imaging Inc., 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. FBR has a $12 price target, and consensus is at $11.05. Shares closed Tuesday at $8.61. A trade to the FBR goal would be a 40% gain.

While the game may not be over for chip investors, the easy money has long since been made. The FBR stock choices still have some upside remaining. Investors with solid gains in other chip stocks may want to consider a swap to stay in the sector and still have upside worth the risk.

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