Merrill Sees Sell Opportunity in Lam Research

Jan. 3.07 | About: Lam Research (LRCX)

Merrill Lynch’s Brett Hodess today asserted that “there may be some significant short-term pressure in early 2007" on shares of Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) “as fund managers rationalize/re-balance portfolios.” He notes that Lam was up 42% in 2006, versus a 2.2% decline by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (the SOX) and an average 19% gain by other large cap semiconductor and equipment stocks.

That said, Hodess contends the company’s “excellent execution and strategy” should produce improving earnings despite a relatively flat semiconductor equipment spending environment. He sees profits for the fiscal year ending June 2007 of $4.50 a share, versus $2.34 last year, but declining to $3.60 in fiscal 2008. Hodess rates the stock Neutral.

This morning, with the Nasdaq in rally mode, Lam shares are ahead 51 cents, at $51.13.

LRCX 1-yr chart: