Why Qualcomm Shares Are Being Hung Out to Dry

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Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) reported second fiscal quarter 2019 results after markets closed on Wednesday. The chipmaker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.77 and revenues of $4.9 billion. In the second quarter of 2018, Qualcomm reported EPS of $0.78 on revenues of $5.2 billion. The consensus analysts’ estimates called for EPS of $0.71 and $4.8 billion in revenue.

The big news for Qualcomm came in mid-April when the company settled all its legal proceedings with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). At the time the company said it expected an incremental $2 per share in earnings for the 2019 fiscal year.

In its outlook, Qualcomm guided third fiscal quarter revenue to a range of $4.5 to $4.7 billion, well below the $5.08 billion analysts were looking for. The impact on revenues from the Apple settlement is not known, but the company did say that whatever the amount it will be excluded from adjusted results. Estimated technology licensing (QTL) revenues for the quarter totaled $1.225 billion to $1.325 billion. Adjusted diluted EPS is forecast at $0.70 to $0.80 while analysts are expecting $0.87 in EPS.

In the first and second fiscal quarters of 2019, Qualcomm revenues included $150 million in QTL royalties ($0.11 per share) due from Huawei but did not include any expected royalty payments due on sales of Apple products, including products made by Apple’s contract manufacturers. Qualcomm and Huawei are continuing to negotiate, but Qualcomm noted that if a final agreement can’t be reached, the payments due from Huawei are in jeopardy.

Adjusted EPS excluded $0.13 per share in restructuring charges and included $0.02 per share related to the company’s strategic initiatives (QSI).

Qualcomm paid cash dividends totaling $752 million ($0.62 per share) in the quarter. The company has $7.8 billion remaining in a $30 billion share buyback program announced in its fourth fiscal quarter of 2018.

CEO Steve Mollenkopf said:

We delivered a better than expected quarter with earnings per share above the high end of our estimates, reflecting stronger QTL results and solid execution in QCT. We are also pleased to have reached multi-year agreements with Apple and look forward to continuing to support them as a customer.

Investors were not pleased, especially with the forecast for the current quarter. It may be that the weak forecast is being interpreted as a smaller than expected boost from settling the Apple litigation. What would be worse is if the company is having trouble delivering its 5G modem chips, but there is no indication in the press release of any such problem. Maybe the conference call will reveal more details.

Qualcomm shares traded down about 5% in Wednesday’s after-hours market at $82.12 in a 52-week range of $49.10 to $88.63. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $90.31.

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