Tue, Nov. 17, 10:37 AM
- David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital lowered its Micron (MU +1.2%) stake by 67% in Q3 to 12.4M shares, per Greenlight's Q3 13F.
- Einhorn, whose fund was down 16% YTD through October due to losses taken in SunEdison, Micron, and Consol Energy, had upped his Micron stake to 37.5M shares in Q2, and defended the DRAM/NAND giant his Q2 letter following a major selloff. Micron is currently down 57% YTD.
- Einhorn also liquidated a 1.6M-share position in chip equipment maker Lam Research (LRCX), which in early Q4 announced it's acquiring KLA-Tencor.
- His position in Lam rival Applied Materials (AMAT +0.1%) was lowered to 5M shares from 8.2M. Applied jumped last week after providing better-than-feared FQ4 results, FQ1 guidance, and order data, and forecasting on its earnings call it expects the wafer fab equipment market to be flat or up, better than expectations for a moderate decline.
- A 600K-share position was taken in Garmin (GRMN -0.2%). The navigation hardware maker was hammered in October following a Q3 warning, but has since largely recovered its losses.
Fri, Nov. 6, 4:12 PM
Wed, Oct. 21, 11:33 AM
- Up yesterday in response to Intel's flash manufacturing plans, chip equipment makers are higher today after Lam Research (LRCX +5.6%) announced it's buying KLA-Tencor (KLAC +22.5%) for $10.6B, with the goal of creating an industry giant on par with Applied Materials (AMAT +1%).
- In addition to Lam, KLA, and Applied, gainers include ASML (ASML +2.3%), Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC +2.9%), Teradyne (TER +4.6%), Mattson (MTSN +2.6%), and Xcerra (XCRA +2.3%). Ahead of the deal announcement, Tokyo Electron (OTCPK:TOELF) rose 4% in Tokyo, aided by the Intel news and a rally in Japanese equities.
- Lam/KLA assert the deal combines "Lam's best-in-class capabilities in deposition, etch, and clean [equipment] with KLA-Tencor's leadership in inspection and metrology." Gartner estimates Lam and KLA respectively had 9.4% and 6.4% of the 2013 chip equipment market. Applied (competes with both KLA and Lam) had 16.2%, ASML (dominant in lithography) 15.7%, and Tokyo 9.1%.
- Lam is paying the equivalent of $32/share in cash and 0.5 shares (current value of $37) for each KLA share. It plans to finance the deal with $1.9B in cash on hand from both companies, and $3.9B in debt. KLA shareholders can elect to be paid solely in cash, solely in stock, or through a mixture of cash and stock.
- The deal is expected to close in mid-2016. Lam CEO Martin Anstice will run the combined firm.
Wed, Oct. 21, 7:45 AM
- KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC) +17.9% premarket after agreeing to be acquired by Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) in a cash and stock deal valued at ~$10.6B.
- The $67.02/share offer marks a 24% premium to yesterday's closing price for KLAC.
- The combined company, to be called Lam Research, will have a market cap of ~$19B and says it will serve 42% of the wafer fabrication equipment market.
- The two companies say they expect to realize $250M/year in cost savings within 18-24 months of the deal's close and generate ~$600M in incremental annual revenue by 2020.
- LRCX -2.2% premarket.
Wed, Oct. 21, 5:52 AM
Tue, Oct. 20, 5:35 PM| Tue, Oct. 20, 5:35 PM | 7 Comments
Tue, Oct. 20, 3:58 PM
- Applied Materials (AMAT +2.3%) and Lam Research (LRCX +3.6%) have rallied after Intel announced plans to make up to $5.5B worth of flash memory manufacturing investments ($3.5B committed) in the coming years at its Dailan, China fab. 3D NAND manufacturing is expected to start in Dailan in 2H16.
- KLA-Tencor (KLAC +1.3%) and Axcelis (ACLS +1.8%), which also have strong memory exposure, are up moderately. The Nasdaq is down 0.5%.
- The group caught a bid last week after Intel cut its capex budget by $400M to $7.3B (+/- $500M), but added capex is expected to rise in 2016. Gartner has forecast moderate 2015 and 2016 declines in industry wafer fab equipment spend, followed by 8%+ growth in 2017 and 2018.
Wed, Oct. 14, 3:10 PM
- Though still well below its May/June highs, the Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX +2.9%) has reached its highest levels since August following calendar Q3 results from Intel, Linear Technology, and ASML, and reports SanDisk and Fairchild are in buyout talks with potential suitors (respectively Micron/Western Digital and ON Semi/Infineon). The Nasdaq is down slightly.
- Intel (up 1.5%) beat Q3 estimates and provided in-line Q4 guidance. ASP strength and signs of stabilizing PC demand are overshadowing a full-year guidance cut for Intel's server CPU division, Linear (up 4.6%) posted mixed FQ1 results and issued above-consensus FQ2 guidance.
- Lithography equipment giant ASML (ASML -0.4%) beat Q3 EPS estimates and posted nearly in-line sales, but also guided for Q4 revenue of €1.4B ($1.61B), below a $1.77B consensus. Soft demand from foundry clients is blamed. Credit Suisse and Cowen argue ASML is hurt by a lack of exposure to the 3D NAND flash ramp.
- Aside from Linear and companies associated with the SanDisk/Fairchild reports, chipmakers seeing big gains include NXP (NXPI +4.6%), Freescale (FSL +3.6%), Himax (HIMX +4.2%), Qorvo (QRVO +4.9%), Cypress (CY +6.9%), AppliedMicro (AMCC +4.9%), and Linear/Fairchild peers Semtech (SMTC +4.7%), MangaChip (MX +4.6%), Diodes (DIOD +4%), and Power Integrations (POWI +4.2%). Chip packaging/testing firms ChipMOS (IMOS +3.8%) and Amkor (AMKR +5.9%) are also rallying.
- With much already priced in, chip equipment makers are also doing well, in spite of ASML's guidance, a fresh $400M cut to Intel's 2015 capex budget (to $7.3B), and a Gartner forecast for global wafer fab equipment spend to drop 0.5% in 2015 and 2.5% in 2016 before returning to growth.
- Chip equipment gainers include Lam Research (LRCX +3.6%), KLA-Tencor (KLAC +1.6%), Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC +3.3%), and Teradyne (TER +1.9%). Possibly helping: Intel stated on its earnings call its capex will rise in 2016 from 2015's depressed levels.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Mon, Oct. 5, 7:02 PM
- Believing chip industry capex will drop 13% in 2016 to $46B due to weak memory spend, RBC's Mahesh Sanganeria downgraded Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) and Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) to Underperform today, while respectively cutting his targets to $12 and $52.
- Sanganeria expects DRAM capex to drop 38% next year, and NAND flash capex 17%. Foundry capex is expected to be "flattish," and spending by IDMs (pressured this year by Intel's capex budget cuts) up 3%. "DRAM spending is positioned to decline in 2016 after two years of high level spending on new capacity and 20nm conversion. 3D NAND in CY16 appears to be limited after Samsung filled up Xi’an fab with 90k capacity as Micron and Toshiba need to expand current fabs for 3D conversion ... IDM/foundry spending will likely remain muted until 10nm ramp."
- He thinks Applied's 2016 outlook is too optimistic. "During JulQ earnings call, management expected DRAM spending to be down 10% and NAND to remain at a high level driven by continued 3D NAND investment in CY16. Additionally, the company expects big 10nm foundry spending."
- Regarding Lam, he observes DRAM/NAND now account for ~60% of total shipments. and thinks calendar Q4 shipments could miss estimates. DRAM and NAND prices have come under pressure in 2015, fueling speculation memory makers (Samsung in particular) could pare their investments.
- In spite of the downgrade, AMAT rose 1.1% in regular trading, aided by a 1.6% Nasdaq gain. Lam fell 0.4%. Both companies have had some bad news priced in over the last several months.
Mon, Sep. 14, 1:55 PM
- With the Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX +0.4%) down ~20% from its June highs - an inventory correction and concerns about PC/smartphone sales have contributed - Evercore's C.J. Muse thinks "now is the time" to buy into the group. He sees 20%-25% potential upside over the next 3+ months, and 5%-10% potential downside.
- NXP (NASDAQ:NXPI), Micron (NASDAQ:MU), Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI), and Maxim (NASDAQ:MXIM) are Muse's top picks among chipmakers. Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT), Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) , and ASML are his top picks among chip equipment firms. Along with the call, Muse has upgraded Analog Devices (ADI +1.9%) to Buy.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
- Last week: Chip stocks jump as markets rally, Microchip improves guidance, Taiwan reports
Thu, Aug. 27, 4:12 PM
Wed, Jul. 29, 6:19 PM
- In addition to beating FQ4 estimates, Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) is guiding for FQ1 revenue of $1.6B (+/- $75M) and EPS of $1.70 (+/- $0.10), above a consensus of $1.41B and $1.38.
- Financials: GAAP gross margin was 43.3% vs. 43.1% in FQ3 and 44.6% a year ago; non-GAAP GM was also 45.5%. Excluding a $79.4M goodwill impairment charge, operating expenses rose 9% Y/Y to $371M. $74.3M was spent on buybacks. Lam ended FQ4 with $4.2B in cash/investments, and $2.4B in debt/capital leases.
- LRCX +1.7% AH to $79.00.
- FQ4 results, PR
Wed, Jul. 29, 4:09 PM
Thu, Jul. 16, 12:40 PM
- Applied Materials (AMAT -3.6%), ASML (ASML -4.9%), Lam Research (LRCX -4.2%), KLA-Tencor (KLAC -4.4%), Ultratech (UTEK -4.8%), Rudolph (RTEC -3.1%), Mattson (MTSN -2.4%), Advantest (ATE -2.6%), Teradyne (TER -0.9%), and Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC -1.2%) are lower (in spite of a 1.1% Nasdaq gain) after Intel cut its capex budget for the third time this year, this time by $1B to $7.7B (+/- $500M). The chip giant spent $10.1B on capex in 2014, and $10.7B-$11B in 2011-2013.
- Also: Intel disclosed it now expects to bring its first 10nm CPUs to market in 2H17, breaking with its historical 2-year manufacturing process upgrade pace and leading some to wonder if Moore's Law is proving harder to maintain. Intel's first 14nm CPUs (based on the Broadwell architecture) arrived last September.
- Separately, TSMC (cut its capex budget in April) provided cautious remarks about global chip demand. The world's biggest foundry expects 3% 2015 chip industry growth and 6%-10% foundry market growth.
- The selloff comes shortly after Applied and Lam provided aggressive 3-year EPS growth targets (I, II) at investor meetings held during the chip industry's Semicon West conference. ASML rallied yesterday following a Q2 beat and positive 2H15 outlook.
Tue, Jul. 14, 6:27 PM
- At an investor meeting held at the chip industry's annual Semicon West conference, Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) provided calendar 2015/2016 revenue and EPS target ranges of $5.8B-$6.3B and $6.00-$6.75. The FY16 (ends June '16) consensus is at $5.73B and $5.78.
- 2017 revenue/EPS target ranges are at $6.5B-$7B and $7.00-$7.75. For 2018, they're at $7B-$7.5B and $8.00-$8.75.
- As expected, Lam continues to argue its strong exposure to chip manufacturing tech "inflections" (e.g. 3D NAND, FinFET logic ICs, DRAM multi-patterning, next-gen chip packaging) will allow it to outgrow the industry: The company forecasts a ~32% share of wafer fab equipment (WFE) spend in 2018, up from 29% in 2015 and 26.5% in 2013.
- Lam estimates it had a high-30s 2014 share of the deposition equipment market, a low-mid 50s share of the etch equipment market, and a high-teens share of the clean equipment market. Deposition and etch share gains were recorded last year.
- Shares rose 0.7% in regular trading, matching the Nasdaq's gain.
- Investor meeting slides (.pdf)
- Earlier: Applied Materials' FY18 forecasts
Mon, Jul. 13, 4:32 PM
- "When the company announced a confusing merger with Alcatel-Lucent ... we used the opportunity to exit with a healthy gain," writes David Einhorn in his Q2 letter, explaining Greenlight Capital's unloading of its Nokia (NYSE:NOK) position.
- Regarding his decision to exit EMC, Einhorn cites "the reduced odds of any favorable change to the corporate structure and increasing concerns about a lack of growth in the storage business." EMC is 4 months removed from formally stating it doesn't plan to spin off its 80% VMware stake.
- Regarding Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL), a position held for years, Einhorn cites weak PC demand as a reason for exiting following a 15% compounded annual return. His disclosure comes on a day Marvell rose 5.4% thanks to a report of buyout interest from a Chinese investment firm.
- Echoing the bullish arguments he has made for rival Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX), Einhorn says he took a small position in Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) out of a belief AMAT's core etch/deposition equipment markets will outgrow the broader chip equipment industry "due to the increased use of 'multi-patterning' to produce chips at geometries below [20nm]." He predicts results will improve as management turns its attention from the abandoned Tokyo Electron merger towards "growth and cost savings opportunities." With Einhorn's help, AMAT rose 2.9% today.
- "It's a cyclical business and, regrettably, we missed the turn of the cycle," says Einhorn about Micron (NASDAQ:MU), Greenlight's biggest Q2 loser. However, he still thinks the DRAM industry is acting more rationally following consolidation, notes shares trade at "less than 12x annualized trough earnings and less than 5x prior peak earnings," and predicts future cycles will have higher peaks and troughs.
- Over the long run, Einhorn expects Micron ($19.1B market cap) to be worth more than Netflix (NFLX - $42.9B market cap), whose recent surge he considers quite unjustified. "In today's market, the best performing stocks are companies with exciting stories where accountability is in the distant future." He adds Season 3 of House of Cards "appeared to be scripted to compete with Ambien,"
- Worth noting: While Einhorn has a good track record going long, his short picks have been more hit-and-miss.
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