Rob Black's Tech Stock Report

by: Rob Black

Baird downgrades Nortel (NT) to Neutral and $2 target from $3. The downgrad is based on a more challenging outlook for the company's North American CDMA wireless business.

SanDisk (SNDK) agreed to buy Msystems (FLSH), another supplier of data-storage technology. The deal is the latest sign of consolidation among companies associated with flash memory, a chip technology that is popular for storing data in digital cameras, phones and music players. The deal is negative at the margin for SNDK/FLSH’s competitors in the flash market, including Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Micron (NASDAQ:MU), Samsung, Spansion (SPSN), and Hynix, as they will face a stronger competitor. Benefits to SNDK: 1) makes undisputed leader in fast-growing handset market; 2) gives access to FLSH’s x4 tech; 3) increased scale in USB drive business; 4) cost benefits; 5) exposure to solid state drive business for PCs.

CIBC upgraded SanDisk to Sector Outperformer with a $60 target following the above-mentioned acquisition proposal. The firm believe this merger is a perfect complement.

First Analysis downgrades Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) to Equal Weight from Overweight based on valuation.

BWS Financial upgrades Rambus (NASDAQ:RMBS) to Buy and raises their target to $22 based on an attractive entry point to their target. The firm says they continue to estimate the total damages to RMBS to be approximately $750 million to $1.25 billion. Other memory manufactures might look at their options in settling with RMBS since all ten patents in the Hynix trial were ruled valid.

Soleil says that despite weak 2nd quarter results for the P.N.D. group, they are expecting a strong 2nd quarter from Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN). The firm attributes the disappointing results so far from the P.N.D. group to company specific issues that shouldn't impact GRMN and in fact, they believe the key datapoint from these reports is that key customer NAVTEQ (NVT) reported 40% sequential growth in 2nd quarter P.N.D. unit volume.

LA Times reports at one time limited to pilots, boaters and the military, G.P.S. units have become more commonplace as prices have come down and user-friendliness has gone up. Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that the number of G.P.S. devices sold worldwide — including personal navigation units and applications built into cellphones and hand-held computers — will grow from 18 million last year to 88 illioln in 2010. Garmin owns the U.S. title for personal navigation devices not built into dashboards, with more than 50% of the mkt. Sony (NYSE:SNE) introduced its first G.P.S. device this spring and Royal Philips Electronics has said it plans to get into the navigation game this year. After-market auto parts manufacturers like Pioneer Electronics, Kenwood and JVC Americas have followed suit. The company plans to defend its position by continuing to roll out scores of new products — an expected 66 stand-alone models this year, compared with 55 last year, expanding the number and types of features. But it's the driving segment that has really taken off for the company, pushing sales past $1 bln last year for the first time. CFO Kevin Rauckman said all of the compnay's market segments will see double-digit rev increases this year, but driving-related units now make up half of sales.