Mon, Jan. 5, 8:09 PM
- With the help of recently-acquired Wilocity, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) plans to show off tri-band wireless home networking chipsets that support both 2.4GHz./5GHz. 802.11ac Wi-Fi and the nascent WiGig standard (uses 60GHz. short-range connections as a USB/HDMI replacement).
- Qualcomm also states: 1) Its high-end Snapdragon 810 baseband/app processor (due in hardware in 1H15) now supports the Quick Charge 2.0 and WiPower wireless charging standards. 2) It's partnering with drug giant Novartis to offer "a global connectivity platform for collecting and aggregating medical device data during clinical trials."
- A year after launching the Tegra K1 at CES, Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) has unveiled the Tegra X1. The X1 uses a more advanced manufacturing process (20nm vs. 28nm), replaces the K1's Kepler GPU with a next-gen Maxwell GPU (a key differentiator), and pairs four powerful cores with four smaller/low-power ones (ARM's big.LITTLE architecture). Nvidia, which has Tegra sales to the auto market grow rapidly, is also showing off two Tegra-powered "automotive computers."
- Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM), battling with Qualcomm and others in the Wi-Fi chip market, has launched new 802.11ac chips for routers, broadband gateways, and set-tops - one is said to deliver up to a 4x speed boost through the use of MU-MIMO - as well as a dual-core network processor for Wi-Fi routers.
- Other Broadcom launches: 1) An NFC chip for cars. 2) An automotive Ethernet chip declared to be the industry's most power-efficient. 3) A satellite device for outdoor units that supports up to 32 set-tops.
- Atmel (NASDAQ:ATML) has launched new ARM-based microcontrollers for wearables and managing sensor hubs, and a Bluetooth IC for embedded/wearable devices said to deliver unmatched dynamic power draw and sub-1µA standby power draw.
- Prior CES news
Fri, Jan. 2, 8:28 AM
- Citing growing competition and potential fingerprint sensor share loss, Pac Crest has downgraded Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) to Sector Perform. The firm had been bullish on Synaptics since Jan. 2013, when shares were in the 30s.
- Pac Crest's downgrade comes two weeks after rivals Atmel (NASDAQ:ATML) and Fingerprint Cards announced a partnership; it could take time toy yield results. In the near-term, iPhone 6 share gains could affect Synaptics' fingerprint sensor share, since Apple relies on proprietary sensor tech obtained through the AuthenTec acquisition.
- Synaptics now only goes for 10x estimated FY16 (ends June '16) EPS. FQ2 guidance was hiked a month ago.
Dec. 22, 2014, 5:52 PM
- Atmel (NASDAQ:ATML) is partnering with Swedish fingerprint sensor/module maker Fingerprint Cards (FPC) to offer solutions that pair Atmel's maXTouch touch controllers with FPC's sensors.
- The alliance takes aim at Atmel touch controller rival Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA), which last year bought fingerprint sensor firm Validity Sensors. Since then, Validity has outperformed expectations, racking up design wins with Android OEMs trying to counter Apple's integration of proprietary fingerprint sensors within iDevices.
- Last week, Needham's Rajvindra Gill included both Atmel and Synaptics on his list of top 2015 picks. He likes Atmel's efforts to go after IoT, auto, and industrial opportunities for its microcontrollers and connectivity chips, and thinks Synaptics' integrated touch controller/display driver (TDDI) offerings could help transform it into "a platform company that dominates all the chips on the display motherboard (i.e., touch, fingerprint, display driver IC).”
Dec. 3, 2014, 1:48 PM
- The Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX +1.7%) is making fresh highs after Microchip (MCHP +4.1%) slightly upped its calendar Q4 guidance, and stated it continues to "see an improvement in our bookings and billings since our earnings call on October 30, 2014."
- Chip stocks had also jumped following that earnings call, during which Microchip said it believed the inventory correction that triggered an Oct. 9 warning (and a major chip stock selloff) was mostly over. While a slew of chipmakers provided soft Q4 guidance after Microchip's warning, fears of a major correction didn't pan out.
- The group outperformed a bit yesterday after Cypress (CY +2.9%) announced it's merging with Spansion (CODE +2.5%), continuing the chip industry's consolidation wave. Several firms have upgraded Cypress and/or Spansion in response, praising the deal's cost synergies.
- Notable gainers include not only chipmakers, but also chip equipment, test/assembly, and IP licensing firms: ARMH +3.8%. AMBA +3%. MX +9%. MXIM +4.2%. AMCC +3.5%. ADI +3.1%. SIMG +3.7%. AMKR +4.2%. SPIL +3.3%. SYNA +2.7%. ATML +3.7%. ENTR +3.8%. AMAT +2.7%. KLAC +2.5%.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
- Last week: Chip stocks rally after ADI's earnings
Dec. 2, 2014, 12:33 PM
- Atmel (ATML +2%) and Synaptics (SYNA +2.8%) are seeing healthy gains after touch controller rival Cypress announced it's merging with NOR flash vendor Spansion, the latest in a series of big M&A deals to hit the semi industry. Cypress and Spansion have both soared.
- Atmel also squares off against Cypress in other microcontroller markets. Synaptics, which has been gaining touch controller share, recently closed a $465M deal to buy LCD driver IC vendor Renesas SP Drivers.
Oct. 31, 2014, 11:31 AM
- Three weeks after providing a calendar Q3 warning that triggered a massive chip stock rout, Microchip (MCHP +7.3%) has provided Q4 guidance that's in-line with lowered estimates. The microcontroller vendor, which has often seen trends emerge ahead of peers, also said it saw most of its inventory correction in Q3, and expects Q4 sales to be just "slightly below typical seasonal levels."
- Chip stocks are up strongly (SOXX +4%) on a day the Nasdaq is up 1.4%. Since Microchip's warning, a slew of analog chipmakers and microcontroller firms (e.g. Atmel, Freescale, STMicro, Intersil, Linear) have offered light Q4 guidance, and other firms have reported seeing high-end Android weakness (e.g. Synaptics, Cirrus Logic, Amkor).
- On the other hand, several mobile chipmakers (Skyworks, RF Micro, TriQuint, Silicon Motion), some of which have decent iPhone exposure, have provided strong results and/or guidance. Other chipmakers, such as Broadcom, Texas Instruments, and Xilinx, have rallied after delivering in-line guidance.
- Susquehanna's Chris Caso: "By now, we think it’s clear that the weakness MCHP saw in September is not company specific ... The question now is if the full extent of the weakness has been dialed into estimates. If it has, then this would be among the shortest and mildest downturns in many years."
- Notable gainers: SNDK +3.9%. MU +4.1%. AMAT +3.9%. TXN +4.7%. NXPI +3.9%. NVDA +3.5%. MXIM +4.7%. LLTC +5.1%. FCS +9.6%. FSL +8.8%. ADI +6.5%. TQNT +6.8%. RFMD +6.5%. ATML +5.9%. AVGO +5.1%. MRVL +4.7%. AMCC +8.9%. BRCM +3.6%. TSM +4.4%. ARMH +3.3%.
- Intel (INTC +3.5%) has recovered most of the losses it saw yesterday due to Intesil's (ISIL +3.3%) results and guidance, and related comments about a PC chip inventory correction.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Oct. 29, 2014, 6:34 PM
Oct. 29, 2014, 4:07 PM
Oct. 28, 2014, 5:35 PM
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Oct. 9, 2014, 5:44 PM
- Several microcontroller and analog/mixed-signal IC vendors are lower AH after Microchip warned of weak calendar Q3 sales. TXN -2.2%. ADI -2.2%. LLTC -2.5%. ATML -1.6%. ONNN -1.4%.
- Notably, the microcontroller maker said it believes "another [chip] industry correction has begun and that this correction will be seen more broadly across the industry in the near future."
- Microchip's diversified customer base and recognition of distributor revenue based on sell-through rather than sell-in (unlike many peers) lead it to be seen as a canary in the coal mine for the industry.
Sep. 2, 2014, 10:18 AM
- "The Street's average price target is around $100 ... I think there's potential for more, depending on how fast the adoption of fingerprint technology goes," analyst Steve Jue is quoted as saying in a bullish weekend Barron's column on Synaptics (SYNA +5.2%).
- The paper observes sales of Synaptics' fingerprint sensor modules (obtained through the Validity Sensors acquisition) have grown much faster than expected with the help of a Galaxy S5 design win, and now make up 22% of revenue (the Renesas SP deal could lead that figure to drop some).
- With Android OEMs hungry to counter Apple's integration of a proprietary fingerprint sensor module within iDevices, Synaptics expects industry fingerprint sensor sales soaring to 530M in 2016 from a mere 30M in 2013.
- Barron's also observes Synaptics respectively has 40% and 65% of the touch controller and notebook touchpad markets, and notes shares (going into today, anyway) trade for only 13x forward EPS (exc. cash).
- Shares now +67% YTD. Touch controller rival Atmel (ATML +1.2%) is also higher.
Aug. 7, 2014, 11:29 AM
- Atmel (NASDAQ:ATML) guided on its Q2 CC (transcript) for Q3 revenue of $364M-$382M, unfavorable at the midpoint to a $379M consensus. Recently-acquired Newport Media is expected to contribute $7M.
- When asked about Atmel's guidance, CEO Steven Laub noted touch controller sales are expected to be down by a low-to-mid single-digit % Q/Q - he blames tablet weakness and "customer transitions" in Asia (likely a reference to Samsung's challenges).
- Atmel has also been facing tough touch controller competition from Synaptics.
- Other segments are faring better: Microcontroller and automotive sales are forecast to rise by a low-to-mid single-digit %, memory by double digits, and multi-market/other sales high single-digits.
- Q2 gross margin was 45.3%, up from 44% in Q1 and 42.6% a year ago. Q3 GM is forecast to be at 47% (+/- 100 bps), and Q4 GM around 49%. 3.6M shares were repurchased in Q2 at an average price of $8.
- Q2 results, PR
Aug. 7, 2014, 9:21 AM
Aug. 6, 2014, 4:07 PM
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Aug. 1, 2014, 6:55 PM
- In addition to beating FQ1 estimates, Microchip (MCHP +2.3%) guided for FQ2 revenue of $560M-$575.9M and EPS of $0.70-$0.74, largely above a consensus of $547.6M and $0.71.
- Microchip, often viewed as a bellwether for the chip industry, says it's "seeing a seasonally normal business environment with strengths in many of our end markets like industrial, automotive, housing, consumer electronics and personal computing."
- Microcontroller revenue rose 5.3% Q/Q and 14.5% Y/Y, with all 3 of the company's microcontroller lines - 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit - posting Q/Q growth. Analog revenue (not counting the Supertex deal) rose 2.6% Q/Q and 6.8% Y/Y. Counting Supertex, analog was 24% of total revenue.
- Gross margin +50 bps Q/Q and +180 bps Y/Y to 59.8%. Microchip expects an FQ2 GM of 59.2%-59.6%.
- Microcontroller rival Atmel (ATML +2.3%) has followed Microchip higher. Atmel's Q2 report is due on Aug. 6.
- FQ1 results, PR
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