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Weaker-than-expected guidance from Broadcom, Altera, RF Micro, and STMicroelectronics has fueled a general selloff in chip stocks (SOXX -3.5%). Companies with strong mobile and/or telecom infrastructure exposure are seeing an outsized share of the damage.
The numbers call into question the strength of year-end demand from consumer electronics, enterprise hardware, and telecom equipment firms, and make a recent Wells Fargo downgrade of the sector look smart.
CEVA (CEVA -12.8%) is ending the day with huge losses after Broadcom, which uses CEVA's DSP cores in its baseband chips, missed Q2 estimates and issued light Q3 guidance, while blaming the shortfall in large part on light baseband sales. Chip stocks on the whole have had a bad day (SOXX -1.8%), as Broadcom's numbers and a ho-hum report from ARM overshadow Apple's FQ3 beat. SIMG -3.8%. OVTI -2.8%. MU -3.9%. SNDK -2.4%. IMOS -4.5%. Broadcom set-top chip rival STMicroelectronics (STM -2.7%) has fallen for the second day in a row following its Q2 report and soft Q3 guidance, aided by a downgrade to Underperform from BofA.
Chip stocks outperform (SOXX +1.4%) after Microchip raises its June quarter guidance, and STMicroelectronics raises its 2013 guidance. Microchip rivals Texas Instruments (TXN +2.6%), Atmel (ATML +3.4%), and Freescale (FSL +2.1%) are among the winners, as is STMicroelectronics rival NXP (NXPI +3.6%). Also, Altera (ALTR +2.5%) is rallying with the help of an upgrade to Buy from Argus, and Intersil (ISIL +2.4%) is benefiting from a bullish coverage launch from Piper. Some chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG.
Microchip (MCHP) +4.5% after raising its FQ1 (ends June 30) guidance. The microcontroller vendor now expects 4%-7% Q/Q sales growth and EPS of $0.52-$0.56; that's better than prior guidance of 2%-6% growth and EPS of $0.50-$0.54, and largely above a consensus of $447.7M and $0.52. Microchip, often seen as a bellwether for chip stocks (SOXX, SMH), says it has "continued to see a very strong bookings and business environment," has "received excellent visibility" from customers, and is returning employees to work faster than expected to keep inventories from falling too low. Microchip's guidance hike comes after the SIA estimated chip sales fell 10% M/M in March, better than a historical drop of 15.3%.
Chip stocks close with solid gains (SOXX +1.5%) after Avago beats April quarter estimates and makes encouraging comments about mobile, industrial, and enterprise networking demand. In addition to Avago's rivals and Cirrus Logic (previous), big winners include Fairchild (FCS +3.8%), SanDisk (SNDK +2.7%), Spreadtrum (SPRD +7.2%), and InvenSense (INVN +4.9%), as well as touchscreen controller suppliers Synaptics (SYNA +4.3%), Atmel (ATML +6.3%), and Cypress (CY +2.8%).
Are wireless chip stocks decoupling from Apple? Even with Apple off slightly as bleak June quarter guidance outweighs fresh capital returns, iPhone/iPad combo chip supplier Broadcom (BRCM +6.6%) is surging thanks to a Q1 beat and strong Q2 guidance, and is helping out some peers - QCOM +1.4%, SWKS +2.6%, INVN +1.8%, SNDK +1%. During its earnings call, Broadcom, which also provides combo chips for many Samsung phones, stated mobile chip sales only fell 1.6% Q/Q in seasonally weak Q1, and forecast sequential growth for the business (Apple-dependent Cirrus Logic sure isn't doing the same). Qualcomm reports after the close.
Chip stocks have a rough day (SOXX -2.8%) following Cirrus Logic's warning, light guidance from Linear Technology (LLTC -4.6%) to go with a Q1 beat - Linear sees 1%-4% Q/Q revenue growth for calendar Q2, below a 4.7% consensus - and ho-hum Q1 results/Q2 guidance from Intel. Apple suppliers Broadcom (BRCM -4%), Avago (AVGO -5.5%), STMicroelectronics (STM -6.7%), NXP (NXPI -7%), RF Micro (RFMD -2.8%), and OmniVision (OVTI -3.3%) are among the casualties, but they're far from alone. ANAD -6.2%. STM -5.7%. FSL -5%. ADI -4.5%. TXN -4.4%.
Chip stocks are outperforming (SOXX +2%) in the wake of Marvell's FQ4 beat and solid guidance, and Texas Instruments' dividend/buyback hike. Also norteworthy: 1) SEMI estimates the book-to-bill for North American chip equipment makers rose to 1.14 in January; that's up from 0.92 in December, and the first reading above 1 since May '12. 2) Taiwanese analog chipmakers posted strong January sales thanks to demand from LED and smartphone clients; the results could be a positive leading indicator.
Telecom chipmakers Cavium (CAVM +7.5%) and PMC-Sierra (PMCS +13.7%) soar after delivering Q4 beats (I, II), and contribute to a decent rally in chip stocks (SOXX +1.9%). Cavium guided on its Q4 call for Q1 revenue of $68.5M-$70.5M and EPS of $0.17-$0.19 vs. a consensus of $69.1M and $0.17. PMC guided on its call for Q1 revenue of $123M-$132M, largely above a $124.7M consensus. The numbers come amidst growing optimism (I, II) about 2013 telecom capex. Peers Broadcom (BRCM +2%), Marvell (MRVL +3.1%), and LSI (LSI +4.7%) are all doing well.
TSMC (TSM +2.5%) has hit levels last seen during the Dot.com bubble after delivering an in-line Q4 report (revenue was already known thanks to monthly reports) and guiding for a smaller Q/Q sales drop for seasonally weak Q1 than was expected. The world's top chip foundry claims 22% of Q4 wafer sales involved its cutting-edge 28nm process - TSMC struggled with 28nm yield issues earlier in 2012. Chip stocks are getting a lift from the report (SOXX +1.4%), and from ASML's guidance.
Chip stocks are outperforming (SOXX +1.1%) in spite of receiving soft top-line numbers from Linear Tech (LLTC +1.4%): the chipmaker missed FQ2 revenue estimates and guided for FQ3 Q/Q revenue growth of 1%-4%, below a 5% consensus. S&P 500 chip companies are already expected to post a 28.7% Y/Y earnings drop for calendar Q4 (per Thomson Reuters), thus expectations are quite low. Intel (INTC +0.9%) reports tomorrow: the consensus revenue forecast of $13.51B is below the midpoint of the chip giant's $13.1B-$14.1B guidance range.
TSMC (TSM +2.3%) provides some cheer for chip stocks by announcing sales for the seasonally weak month of December were NT$37.1B ($1.28B), -16% M/M but +19% Y/Y. That leads total Q4 sales to amount to NT$131.3B, slightly above guidance of NT$129B-$131B. TSMC's 28nm manufacturing process lead and strong exposure to Apple/Samsung suppliers helped it gain chip foundry share in 2012. (previous)
Chip stocks are outperforming (SOXX +3.4%) after the SIA reports global chip sales rose 8.5% Y/Y in November, albeit while falling 1.3% M/M. Though year-ago figures were depressed by an inventory correction and some were expecting a M/M increase, the sector has already priced in quite a bit of bad news. Equipment maker Lam Research (LRCX +5.5%) is one of the standouts after D.A. Davidson starts coverage with a Buy and $56 PT.
O2Micro (OIIM) warns it expects Q4 revenue of $16M-$17M, below prior guidance of $17M-$20M and a consensus of $18.6M. The company, no stranger to warnings, blames "broad-based weakness in demand in our end markets, coupled with lower than normal inventories being held in the supply chain." At least a few other chipmakers have similar problems. Shares are likely to fall after rising 8% in regular trading. (PR)
Tessera (TSRA) -6.9% AH after warning it expects Q4 revenue of $50M-$53M, well below the $73.5M estimated by the one analyst who covers the company. Chip packaging IP revenue is expected to fall to $42M-$43M from Q3's $57.9M, and camera module sales to $8M-$10M from Q3's $14.8M. No explanation is given for the warning, which is harsh even in light of the ones recently issued by Altera and Lattice Semi.