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Smart phones and tablet computers are now popular with consumers throughout the world. Many of the parts that go into these popular consumer products are engineered and manufactured by semiconductor companies. This article will analyze five of the best-positioned semiconductor companies that all have analyst buy ratings, to see which ones can benefit from this new market trend and give a boost to your portfolio.

Intel Corporation (INTC) INTC has a market cap of $127 billion with a price to earnings ratio of 10.8. The stock has traded in a 52 week range between $19.16 and $25.50. The stock is currently trading around $25. The company reported third quarter revenues of $14.2 billion compared to revenues of $11.1 billion in the third quarter of 2010. Third quarter net income was $3.4 billion compared to net income of $2.9 billion in the third quarter of 2010.

One of INTC’s competitors is Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). AMD is currently trading around $6 with a market cap of $3.96 billion and a price to earnings ratio of 4.04. AMD does not pay a dividend versus INTC whose dividend yields 3.4%.

INTC has done an excellent job of increasing earnings. In 2010, the company increased revenues by 24% and net income by 53%. The company’s year-over-year third quarter revenues were up by 27% and its net income was up by 17%. The company’s performance was so impressive that Warren Buffett, who had previously shunned tech stocks, bought 9.3 million shares in the third quarter of 2011. Despite its recent strong earnings INTC has worked to make inroads into the computer service business and the smart phone/computer tablet industry. INTC recently bought McAfee which provides internet security systems, and struck a deal with Google (GOOG) to work on smart phones and tablet designs. The company also is optimistic about the future of its new product the Ultrabook. The company’s stock has performed well and is up by 18.6% over the last 52 weeks and 106% over the last three years. INTC offers investors capital appreciation and a strong dividend. I rate INTC as a buy.

SanDisk Corporation (SNDK) SNDK has a market cap of $12.27 billion with a price to earnings ratio of 10.38. The stock has been trading in a 52 week range between $33.03 and $53.61. The stock is currently trading around $51. The company reported third quarter revenues of $1.4 billion compared to revenues of $1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2010. Third quarter net income was $233 million compared to net income of $322 million in the third quarter of 2010.

One of SNDK’s competitors is the Sony Corporation (SNE). SNE is currently trading around $17 with a market cap of $16.93 billion and a negative price to earnings ratio. Neither of these companies pays a dividend.

SNDK makes semiconductors and flash memory units. The company increased year-over-year third quarter revenues by 16% but saw net income drop by 38%. The reason for the drop in net income, was because of higher R&D cost and a decline in the price of its memory chips. Despite the decline in net income, the company beat third quarter earnings estimates and the stock price spiked upwards. SNDK stock price is up by 32.6% over the last 52 weeks and 11% over the last month. I think that investors are attracted to this stock, because their memory chips are used in hot products like Apples (AAPL) iPhone and iPad and Google’s smart phones. I think prospects for SNDK's future are bright, and I rate the stock as a buy.

Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) ADI has a market cap of $10.94 billion with a price to earnings ratio of 12.39. The stock has been trading in a 52 week range between $29.23 and $43.28. The stock is currently trading around $37. The company reported third quarter revenues for the period ending on July 30th, in the amount of $757 million compared to revenues of $720 million in the third quarter of 2010. Third quarter net income was $219 million compared to net income of $199 million in the third quarter of 2010.

One of ADI’s competitors is STMicroelectronics N V (STM). STM is currently trading around $7 with a market cap of $6.2 billion and a price to earnings ratio of 7.17. STM pays a dividend which yields 4.8% versus ADI whose dividend yields 2.7%.

ADI has been consistent in increasing its earnings. The company increased its 2010 net income by 188%. The company increased its year-over-year third quarter revenues by 5% and net income by 10%. The company’s stock performance has been mediocre. The stock is up by 5.8% over the last 52 weeks. The company’s has paid quarterly dividends since 2003 and has increased its dividend five times by 108% over the last five years. ADI offers investors consistent earnings and a respectable dividend. However, I can see no catalyst which would drive up the stock price. I rate ADI as a hold.

IXYS Corporation (IXYS) IXYS has a market cap of $378.3 million with a price to earnings ratio of 8.94. The stock has traded in a 52 week range between $10.05 and $15.98. The stock is currently trading around $12. The company reported second quarter revenues for the period ending on September 30th, in the amount of $99 million compared to revenues of $89 million in the second quarter of 2010. Second quarter net income was $10.9 million compared to net income of $6.8 million in the second quarter of 2010.

One of IXYS’s competitors is ON Semiconductor Corporation (ONNN). ONNM is currently trading around $8 with a market cap of $3.62 billion and a price to earnings ratio of 31.9. Neither company pays a dividend.

IXYS is a semiconductor company that increased year-over-year second quarter revenues by 10% and net income by 60%. The company does not pay a dividend. IXYS stock performance has been mediocre. The stock price is up by 10.9% over the last 52 weeks. The company has no catalyst which could excite investors and help the stock price. IXYS has little potential for capital appreciation and pays no dividend, therefore I rate the stock as a hold.

Maxim Integrated Products Inc. (MXIM) MXIM has a market cap of $7.55 billion with a price to earnings ratio of 15.57. The stock has traded in a 52 week range between $20.62 and $28.44. The stock is currently trading around $26. The company reported first quarter revenues for the period ending on September 24th, in the amount of $636 million compared to revenues of $626 million in the first quarter of 2010. First quarter net income was $133 million compared to net income of $117 million in the first quarter of 2010.

One of MXIM competitors is Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN). TXN is currently trading around $30 with a market cap of $34.61 billion and a price to earnings ratio of 12.62. TXN pays a dividend which yields 2.2% versus MXIM whose dividend yields 3.3%.

MXIM is a semiconductor company that is moving in a positive direction. The company increased its 2011 fiscal year revenues for the period ending on June 25th, by 25% and its net income by 129%. The company has paid quarterly dividends since 2002 and currently pays a $0.88 dividend with a 3.3% yield. The company’s stock price has also performed well, and is up by 15.8% over the last 52 weeks, and 128% over the last three years. MXIM does not have any new products or business arrangements that will drive revenues higher. Also, MXIM stock valuation is higher than its competitors. I think that semiconductor companies such as Intel or SanDisk are better investments, and I rate MXIM as a hold.

Source: 2 Semiconductor Companies That Could Break Out, 3 To Avoid