Despite the recent sell-off in semiconductor stocks, the SOX index, which tracks the group, is still up substantially from the lows last October, and it has outperformed the S&P 500. Even with numbers comings down on pre-announcements, the top chip stocks still make good sense for aggressive growth accounts. A new report from Deutsche Bank highlights some of the stocks that are returning the most cash to shareholders via dividends and share repurchase plans.
While the analysts acknowledge that increased cash returns can rapidly decrease corporate cash balances, on the whole they are a positive. They do caution that for some companies, the returns could be unsustainable. In the report they highlight four stocks to buy now: Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM), Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) and On Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: ONNN).
Broadcom is a top supplier to both Samsung and Apple, and the new Galaxy S6 could bring even more earnings growth for this chip giant. Broadcom supplies touch-screen controller chips for the iPhone 6. The S6 will be using the company’s second generation 2X2 5G Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo and the new GPS/Sensor hub chipset. The analysts feel that because Samsung is going to use its own applications processor, the company is poised to gain share versus last year, so overall a huge win for the tech giant.
The analysts also feel the company can sustain cash returns to shareholders for the next two years without any changes, especially with a strong smartphone market continuing to lead the way for the sector.
Broadcom shareholders are paid a 1.35% dividend. The Deutsche Bank price objective is $50, and the Thomson/First Call consensus price target is at $48.36. The stock closed on Wednesday at $42.59 a share.
Deutsche Bank highlights Intel as having among the highest shareholders cash returns at approximately 8%. The iconic chip giant had a stellar 2014 on the tailwind from continued PC and notebook sales. The stock has underperformed the S&P 500 by a massive 14% year-to-date, and recently the company dramatically lowered estimates for the first quarter, an event that was not altogether unexpected.
Wall Street analysts have pointed out recently that earnings confessions are not that unusual in the chip world, and history suggests buying the confession pays in semiconductors. Many are think that the recent earnings warning announcement is a stellar opportunity for investors to buy a quality stock like Intel.
Intel investors are paid an outstanding 3.11% dividend. Deutsche Bank has its price target set at $38. The consensus target is much lower at $34.61. Shares closed trading on Wednesday at $30.81.
NXP Semiconductors is one of the companies that the report cites as a “primarily co-specific self-help story that possesses the ability to unlock equity value without meaningful macro/cyclical tailwinds.” That is critical in a highly cyclical industry.
NXP’s recent merger announcement with Freescale Semiconductor was widely applauded on Wall Street, and many analysts, including the Deutsche Bank team, believe the merger can transform the company into a powerhouse, making it the fourth largest semiconductor company in the industry.
It is also important to note that the combined company would be the number one supplier in auto semiconductors, the number one supplier in global microcontrollers, a dominant supplier in mobile payments and a leading Internet of Things supplier.
The Deutsche Bank price target is posted at $115, and the consensus target is $108.09. Shares closed Wednesday at $99.75.
The company offers a comprehensive portfolio of energy-efficient power and signal management, logic, discrete and custom solutions to help design engineers solve their unique design challenges in automotive, communications, computing, consumer, industrial, LED lighting, medical, military/aerospace and power supply applications.
ON Semiconductor also operates a responsive, reliable, world-class supply chain and quality program, and a network of manufacturing facilities, sales offices and design centers in key markets throughout North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions.
The stock was downgraded Wednesday by Goldman Sachs, which may give investors an outstanding price point at which to enter the stock or add shares to current positions. Deutsche Bank has a $16 price objective, and the consensus price target for this Wall Street favorite is lower at $14.06. Shares closed most recently at $11.49.
Again, they key for investors is selectivity. The Deutsche Bank team has selected four companies that can provide investors with solid upside potential, especially after a rather significant sell-off last week. The report also cited Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. (NASDAQ: FCS) and Xilinx Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) as two additional companies that were returning about 8% cash to shareholders. The report had no stock rating or price target on these two.