AppliedMicro hit by Sterne Agee downgrade

Sterne Agee has cut AppliedMicro (AMCC -4.7%) to Hold, and lowered its PT to $14 from $16. Among other things, Sterne is worried the chipmaker's March quarter guidance will disappoint when it reports on Jan. 23.

AppliedMicro rallied strongly in the middle of last year, thanks largely to enthusiasm about its 64-bit X-Gene server CPU (arguably has an early lead in the budding ARM server CPU market), but had already given back a chunk of its gains prior to Sterne's downgrade. Shares fell yesterday in the wake of telecom equipment vendor Calix's warning.

Startup Calxeda, one of AppliedMicro's noteworthy ARM server CPU rivals, recently went out of business. Competition is still provided by AMD, Texas Instruments, Marvell, and Cavium, and indirectly by x86 server CPU kingpin Intel.

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