Thu, Feb. 5, 4:51 PM
Tue, Jan. 27, 1:24 PM
- BNP Paribas has downgraded KLA-Tencor (KLAC -2.3%) to Neutral in the wake of last week's soft FQ3 outlook, which was blamed on order push-outs from foundry and logic clients.
- The chip equipment maker is now within $5 of a 52-week low of $59.44, and trades for 15x estimated FY16 (ends June '16) EPS. There's $3.2B of debt on the balance sheet following last year's leveraged recap, to go with $2.4B in cash/marketable securities.
Fri, Jan. 23, 2:25 PM
- Applied Materials (AMAT -1.7%) and ASML (ASML -1.5%) are off moderately after chip equipment peer KLA-Tencor (KLAC -7.1%) offered soft guidance (for the third quarter in a row) to go with an FQ2 beat. The Nasdaq is up 0.3%
- On the CC (transcript), CEO Rick Wallace stated KLA has seen orders from both foundry and logic clients for sub-20nm manufacturing equipment "pushed to later in the calendar year." KLA thinks the delays "reflect yield and process stability issues associated with bringing these advanced device architectures to market."
- In July and October, KLA primarily referenced foundry clients when explaining its light guidance. The logic client reference could be about Intel (by the far the biggest of them), which provided a conservative 2015 capex budget last week.
- Wallace also mentioned some orders related to "trailing-edge" manufacturing processes have been "a bit elusive," and that (notably) KLA thinks this is due to "some competitive dynamics in terms of second source strategies and so on."
- Analysts pressed KLA regarding its foundry-related issues, given TSMC is spending heavily and ASML reported strong Taiwanese foundry bookings (presumably from TSMC) earlier this week. On the other hand, memory was a strong point for both KLA and ASML in calendar Q4, respectively accounting for 44% and 27% of the companies' bookings.
Thu, Jan. 22, 5:36 PM
Thu, Jan. 22, 5:35 PM
- KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC) guides on its FQ2 CC for FQ3 revenue of $685M-$762M and EPS of $0.63-$0.87, below a consensus of $790.5M and $0.98. Orders are expected to be in a $500M-$700M range (suggests book-to-bill will likely be below 1).
- Shares have fallen to $67.10 AH. KLA also provided light guidance in October and July, each time blaming delayed orders from a major foundry client for FinFET (3D transistor) process investments.
- FQ2 results, PR
Thu, Jan. 22, 4:16 PM
Wed, Jan. 21, 5:35 PM
Fri, Jan. 16, 7:17 PM
- A day after some industry names outperformed modestly following news TSMC (NYSE:TSM) set a high 2015 capex budget of $11.5B-$12B, chip equipment makers generally traded in-line with a rising tech sector after another one of their big-3 customers, Intel, set a conservative 2015 capex budget of $9.5B-$10.5B.
- TSMC's 2015 budget is well above a 2014 capex level of $9.52B; the world's biggest foundry is both trying to keep up with rising mobile chip orders, and investing heavily to roll out its 16nm FinFET/FinFET+ processes to counter Samsung and Globalfoundries' 14nm FinFET rollouts.
- The midpoint of Intel's 2015 budget is slightly below 2014 spending of $10.1B, which itself was below prior guidance of $10.5B-$11.5B. It's also below 2011-2013 spending of $10.7B-$11B.
- Some cautiousness from Intel might have been expected: Gartner recently forecast industry capex would rise just 0.8% this year to $65.8B, albeit with wafer fab spend rising a healthier 6.7% to $33.7B. Gartner forecast memory capex would rise 13.5% and foundry capex 4.8%, but predicted logic capex (much of it from Intel) would decline 5.3%.
- Also: TSMC has disclosed it sold the 21M-share stake it took in ASML in 2012 for $1.5B, booking a $660M profit along the way. TSMC, Intel, and Samsung each invested in ASML with the goal of accelerating its EUV lithography R&D efforts (viewed as necessary to maintain Moore's Law long-term).
- Between them, Intel, TSMC, and Samsung account for over half of industry capex.
- Chip equipment firms: AMAT, KLAC, LRCX, TER, KLIC, ACLS, UTEK, RTEC, MTSN, ATE, XCRA, OTCPK:TOELF
Tue, Jan. 6, 1:36 PM
- Up 30% in 2014, the Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX -2.2%) has fallen over 4% thus far in 2015. Today's decline comes as the Nasdaq drops 1.6%.
- Many names are posting 3%+ losses. SWKS -4.2%. QRVO -5.8%. AMAT -3.4%. KLAC -3.1%. SYNA -5.4%. IPHI -9%. ARMH -5.4%. SIMO -4.5%. MCRL -3.9%. AMCC -3.9%. CODE -5.1%. CY -4.6%. QUIK -7.9%.
- This morning, Gartner estimated global chip sales rose 7.9% in 2014 to $339.8B, a little less than the 9.4% recently estimated by IHS. Sell-side firms have forecast industry growth will fall to the ~5% range in 2015.
- Gartner thinks memory sales rose 16.9%, fueled by a 31.7% increase in DRAM sales. All other chip markets rose by 5.4%, a marked improvement from 2013's 0.8%. Intel (15% share) and Samsung (10.4%) claimed over a quarter of industry sales between them. Qualcomm (5.6%), Micron (4.9%), and SK Hynix (4.7%) rounded out the top-5.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
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
Nov. 28, 2014, 2:32 PM
- Berenberg's Tammy Qiu declares Applied Materials (AMAT - Buy reiterated) and Lam Research (LRCX - launched at Buy) to be two of her favorite chip equipment plays ahead of an expected 2015/2016 slowdown in semi capex.
- Like David Einhorn and others, Qiu expects Lam to gain chip equipment share thanks to strong exposure to the FinFET (3D transistor) etching and 3D NAND flash deposition/etching markets.
- Applied is expected to benefit from both FinFET/3D NAND exposure and Tokyo Electron (OTCPK:TOELF) merger synergies. Qiu: "We believe TEL can improve its margin following the merger with AMAT, from single-digit to above 20%, by exiting non-profitable business, optimizing operations and platform alignment with AMAT."
- She's less enthusiastic about KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC) and ASML, launching the former at Hold and reiterating a Hold on the latter. Though liking KLA's process control share (helps with regards to FinFET exposure), Qiu considers shares fairly valued at 21x estimated FY15 (ends June '15) EPS.
- ASML, meanwhile, is expected to see a relatively slow EUV sales ramp. Qiu expects ASML to ship only 40 EUV tools in 2019, below management's guidance for 50-60. In addition, sales of ArFi lithography tools are expected to "decline over time due to re-use and efficiency improvements."
- Altogether, Qiu forecasts semi capex will grow just 2% in 2015 and decline 7% in 2016, after growing 12% in 2014. Memory capex is expected to fare better than foundry/logic capex.
Nov. 26, 2014, 9:17 AM
Nov. 20, 2014, 10:02 AM
- In addition to declaring its $16.50/share special dividend, KLA-Tencor (KLAC -0.3%) has adjusted its FQ2 guidance to account for the leveraged recap that had the dividend as its centerpiece.
- The chip equipment maker now expects FQ2 EPS of $0.37-$0.61, down from prior guidance of $0.46-$0.70 and mostly below a $0.58 consensus. Due to the debt taken on to pay for the dividend, other income/expense is expected to be -$30M.
Nov. 19, 2014, 11:21 PM
Nov. 6, 2014, 8:51 AM
Oct. 31, 2014, 12:38 PM
- KLA-Tencor (KLAC +2.9%) is selling $250M worth of 2.375% notes due 2017, $250M of 3.375% notes due 2019, $500M of 4.125% notes due 2021, $1.25B of notes due 2024, and $250M of notes due 2034.
- The chip equipment maker will use the proceeds, along with $750M in term loans and cash on hand, to finance its $2.75B ($16.50/share) special dividend, and to redeem $750M worth of 6.9% notes due 2018.
- KLA had $2.9B in cash/marketable securities at the end of September, and $748M in debt. Shares are rallying on a good day for chip industry names.
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