As market volatility continues to remain high, investors are selling immediately high-risk growth stocks. This is expected, as volatility equates to fear, and when that happens investors are less willing to take on risk and more willing to expect a smaller return as a result. A popular option is US bonds, but with the 2-year yielding less than 0.2%, that has people thinking twice and searching for other safe havens. Building off my previous articles regarding great dividends with beverage stocks, perhaps these four high-yielding semiconductor equipment stocks are worth a look:
1. United Microelectronics (NYSE:UMC), based in Taiwan, operates as a semiconductor wafer foundry. The stock recently took a big hit as it reported its monthly sales in August fell almost 25% year-over-year. However, the selling looks to be overdone, as the stock is selling very cheaply at under 6.5x price/earnings, 0.7x price/book, 1.1x price/sales, over $1 billion in net cash, and a large 7.3% dividend yield. Moreover, its payout is a very small 34%, leading me to believe that even with their recent sales miss, the dividend is not only secure, but likely to be raised. The stock is a buy here at $1.90, and as a side note for the technical analysts, the stock has also formed strong support at this price level.
2. KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC), based in California, engages in design, manufacturing, and marketing for the semiconductor and related nanoelectronics industries. This stock as well is trading at rather inexpensive levels at just over 8x price/earnings and a 3.6% dividend yield, while the company has the strongest gross margins of the bunch in excess of 60% and operating margins greater than 35%. Lastly, the dividend payout ratio is under 25%, giving investors confidence that the dividend is not only secure, but management will continue raising the dividend. This stock is a buy here at $38.50.
3. Brooks Automation (NASDAQ:BRKS), based in Massachusetts, provides automation, vacuum, and instrumentation solutions primarily to the semiconductor manufacturing industry worldwide. The stock is trading very cheaply at just under 4x price/earnings, 0.8x price/sales, 1.1x price/book, and a 3.4% dividend yield. Moreover, the dividend looks very safe, the company has no debt and more than $3 per nshare in net cash. This is a safe buy at $8.50.
4. Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) is based in California and provides manufacturing equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display, solar photovoltaic and related industries worldwide. This is the largest company of the group, and the stock valuations look compelling, trading just above 7.5x price/earnings, 1.3x price/sales, 1x enterprise value/revenue, and a 2.8% dividend yield. Moreover, with the current payout ratio at a paltry 20%, the dividend is not only secure, but likely to be raised, as management has been doing well. This stock is a little richer than the others, but I think it's worth the small premium, as it is the dominant company in the sector and has the most diversified revenue stream. This is a buy at $11.15.
Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) is another stock in the sector selling cheaply, but currently pays no dividend. It trades at under 7x price/earnings and just over 1x enterprise value/revenue. However, with the other options mentioned above, I'd rather own one of those and get a nice dividend along with attractive valuations. Cohu (NASDAQ:COHU) looks enticing as well, as it trades at 9x price/earnings, 0.7x price/sales, 0.9x price/book, and a secure 2.1% dividend yield. This is a solid buy here at $10.50. Finally, Amtech Systems (NASDAQ:ASYS) may be the cheapest of the bunch selling at 3.75x price/earnings, 0.4x price/sales, 0.9x price/book, and over $6/share in net cash, while the company has no debt. Company insiders seem to believe the stock is cheap, as they collectively bought almost 15,000 shares on the open market in mid-August at over $11/share and now the stock is trading near $9.85. I think this is a buy here at $9.85, since the company has little downside with such a big cash position and a lot of upside as the company continues making money.
In a recent article I discussed how Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) looks enticing as well, with its approximate 4% dividend yield and cheap valuation, if you'd like to play the semiconductor field from that angle.