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KLA-Tencor Corporation (KLAC)

- NASDAQ
  • Mon, Apr. 27, 10:37 AM
    • KLA-Tencor (KLAC +3.1%), ASML (ASML +3.3%), Photronics (PLAB +2.5%), Ultratech (UTEK +1.4%), Xcerra (XCRA +1.9%), and Rudolph Technologies (RTEC +2%) are moving higher after Applied Materials (down 7.4%) abandoned its plans to merge with fellow chip equipment giant Tokyo Electron amid tough antitrust scrutiny. The Nasdaq is up 0.5%.
    • Not counting divestments, Applied/Tokyo were expected to have ~1/4 of the chip equipment market post-merger, far above #2 ASML's ~15% and #3 Lam Research's ~9%. The unraveling of the deal could be fueling speculation Applied will turn its sights on another target.
    • Rudolph reports after the close. KLA is 4 days removed from beating FQ3 estimates, reporting orders ($692M) near the high end of a $500M-$700M guidance range, and announcing plans to lay off ~10% of its workforce. FQ4 guidance was somewhat light: Revenue of $710M-$790M and EPS of $0.78-$1.02 vs. a pre-earnings consensus of $782.7M and $0.99. Orders are expected to total $550M-$750M.
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  • Mon, Apr. 20, 4:52 PM
    • In addition to beating FQ3 estimates, Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) is guiding for FQ4 revenue of $1.46B (+/- $50M) and EPS of $1.46 (+- $0.07), above a consensus of $1.39B and $1.35.
    • Shipments are expected to rise to $1.6B (+/- $50M) from FQ3's $1.497B (+20% Q/Q and topping a guidance midpoint of $1.45B). CEO Martin Anstice sings a well-known refrain. "Our differentiated products and services are directly addressing the market driving technology inflections of multi-patterning, 3D device architecture and advanced packaging."
    • The deferred revenue balance rose 30% Q/Q to $485.2M. Gross margin (non-GAAP) fell 70 bps Q/Q and 80 bps Y/Y to 44.7%. Operating expenses rose 11% Y/Y to $355M. $124.9M was spent on buybacks.
    • Shares have risen to $77.52 AH; the all-time high is $85.70. Goldman's table-pounding was well-timed.
    • Peers are getting a lift: Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) is up 1.6% AH to $22.11, and KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC) is up 1.1% to $59.20. KLA reports on Thursday.
    • FQ3 results, PR
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  • Tue, Apr. 14, 5:23 PM
    • Intel has used its Q1 report to cut its 2015 capex budget by $1.3B to $8.7B (+/- $500M). The midpoint of the guidance range implies a 14% drop from a 2014 level of $10.1B, which itself was below 2011-2013 levels of $10.7B-$11B.
    • Several chip equipment makers are lower AH in response. Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) -1.4%. KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC) -1.5%. Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) -1.4%. Kulicke & Soffa (NASDAQ:KLIC) -0.8%.
    • In January, TSMC set an aggressive 2015 capex budget of $11.5B-$12B; Samsung is also expected to spend heavily this year. Between them, Intel, TSMC, and Samsung account for roughly half of all chip equipment capex.
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  • Wed, Mar. 25, 12:03 PM
    • Chip stocks are particularly hard-hit  (SOXX -3.6%) on a rough day for tech. The Nasdaq is down 1.3%, and the S&P 0.7%. Going into today, good earnings reports and ongoing M&A activity had led the Philadelphia Semi Index to rise 10% from its Jan. 30 close; the index remains up nearly 2x from its fall 2012 lows.
    • AMD (AMD -7.2%) is a major decliner following a UBS downgrade. AMD rival/GPU giant Nvidia (NVDA -5.2%) and memory giant Micron (MU -3.7%) are also selling off, as are merger partners NXP (NXPI -3.8%) and Freescale (FSL -3.4%), RF chipmakers Avago (AVGO -5.2%), Skyworks (SWKS -5.3%), and Qorvo (QRVO -7.1%), LED/RF chipmaker Cree (CREE -4.1%), and high-flying video processor developer Ambarella (AMBA -4.3%).
    • Other decliners include telecom chipmakers/ARM server CPU vendors Cavium (CAVM -4.8%) and AppliedMicro (AMCC -4.4%), microcontroller vendors Atmel (ATML -3.5%), Cypress (CY -5.5%), and STMicroelectronics (STM -3.5%), voice processor developer Audience (ADNC -3.7%), analog/mixed-signal chipmakers Linear (LLTC -3.7%), Maxim (MXIM -3%), and Intersil (ISIL -3.5%), FPGA maker Lattice (LSCC -3.9%), and mixed-signal/wireless charging IC developer IDT (IDTI -5.4%).
    • Chip equipment, IP, and foundry providers are also underperforming. Big decliners include ARM (ARMH -4.4%), KLA-Tencor (KLAC -4.2%), Lam Research (LRCX -5.4%), ASML (ASML -4.1%), TowerJazz (TSEM -4.3%), Mattson (MTSN -4.5%), Ultratech (UTEK -4.7%), and Tessera (TSRA -6.1%). ASML has been downgraded to Hold by Banco Santander.
    • TSMC (TSM -4.6%) is among the decliners in spite of a Digitimes report stating the foundry giant's sales are expected to rise 0%-5% Q/Q in Q2 - consensus is for a 2% drop - with strong Apple A8 CPU orders offsetting soft Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 orders.
    • Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
    | 19 Comments
  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Thu, Jan. 22, 5:36 PM
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  • 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
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  • 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
    | 3 Comments
  • 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
    | 10 Comments
  • Nov. 26, 2014, 9:17 AM
    | 2 Comments
  • 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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  • Oct. 24, 2014, 12:54 PM
    • Initially up over 15% yesterday in response to its leveraged recap plans, KLA-Tencor (KLAC +6.6%) has given back over half those gains after guiding on its FQ1 CC (transcript) for FQ2 revenue of $620M-$700M and EPS of $0.46-$0.70, below a consensus of $755M and $0.89.
    • A broad bookings guidance range of $700M-$900M has been provided. FQ1 bookings totaled $567M, below guidance of $600M-$800M. As was the case 3 months ago, KLA blamed delayed orders from a foundry customer related to FinFET (3D transistor) process investments.
    • Like many of its peers, KLA is maintaining an optimistic tone for 2015, predicting strong demand from foundry, logic, and memory clients due to investments in advanced technologies and processes (14nm/16nm FinFET, 3D NAND, etc.). After accounting for just 25% of FQ1 orders (lower than normal), foundries are expected to account for 62% of FQ2 orders.
    • Credit Suisse and B. Riley have both downgraded KLA to Neutral. Each cites valuation.
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  • Oct. 24, 2014, 9:15 AM
    | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 23, 2014, 5:42 PM
    • Top gainers, as of 5:15 p.m.: VTAE +27.2%. RUBI +22.2%. KLAC +16.9%. GIMO +14.6%. MXWL +13.9%.
    • Top losers, as of 5:15 p.m.: AMZN -12.6%. UFCS -8.5%. SYNA -7.9%. P -5.8%. ABG -5.4%.
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  • Oct. 23, 2014, 4:40 PM
    • In a leveraged recap, KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC) plans to pay a $16.50/share special dividend (total value of $2.75B) by year's end. The company has also added $250M to its buyback, on top of the $1B authorization announced in July.
    • The special dividend will be largely financed by raising $2.5B in debt. KLA also expects to obtain a credit facility.
    • KLA: "The Board of Directors took a number of factors into account, including the substantial net cash on KLA-Tencor's balance sheet, the likely effects of increased leverage on the Company's ability to pursue its strategic initiatives, and the Company's ability to generate cash flows to service the Company's increased debt and fund operations and investments designed to grow the business and serve customer needs."
    • FQ1 results, PR
    | 8 Comments
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Company Description
KLA-Tencor Corp is a supplier of process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor and related nanoelectronics industries.