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Though the Nasdaq is up 0.7%, many chip stocks are heading in the opposite direction (SOXX -0.6%) after Intel provided mixed Q1 top-line numbers for its business units - server chip sales were healthy, mobile sales were weak, and PC sales were in between - ASML lowered its 1H14 sales outlook and provided cautious 2H remarks (has dinged many chip equipment stocks), and Linear offered somewhat soft March quarter guidance.
Notable decliners: CRUS -3.3%. ENTR -3.3%. QUIK -2.4%. CAVM -2%. PSMI -3.6%. ADI -2.3%. TXN -1.4%. MXIM -1.5%. FCS -1.5%. The last four companies all compete against Linear.
Himax (HIMX -1.5%) is off after Chardan Capital lowered its PT to $9 from $12; the firm downgraded Himax in January. Shares tumbled on Monday, then ticked higher on Tuesday following a Q1 pre-announcement.
While broader equity markets are only seeing modest declines, tech stocks aren't so lucky. The Nasdaq-100 (QQQ -0.8%) had its lowest print since October this morning before recovering slightly.
Chinese tech stocks (KWEB -4.3%), including 2013 solar high-flyers (TAN -4.2%), are especially hard-hit following a Shanghai selloff triggered by PBOC withdrawals. Other Internet (PNQI -2.3%) and social media (SOCL -2%) stocks aren't faring much better.
Will earnings season come to the rescue? Intel and Yahoo report after the bell today, and Google and IBM after the bell tomorrow.
Chip stocks are outperforming (SOXX +1.1%) after Avago (AVGO +5.1%) posted an FQ1 beat and strong margin numbers (albeit while guiding light, as many expected), and STMicroelectronics (STM +3.9%) exec Paul Grimme states his company's European sales are stabilizing, with Germany leading the way.
Notable winners: AMBA +5.4%. AMCC +5.2%. CRUS +3.3%. SWKS +3%. QUIK +4.1%. INVN +2.7%. RFMD +3.5%. TQNT +3%. SIMO +2.7%. CAVM +3.6%. Nearly all of the aforementioned names have strong mobile and/or telecom equipment exposure.
RBC has hiked its Avago PT to $66 from $64, and says the chipmaker remains its "top play on China and global LTE deployments." With LSI in tow, the firm thinks FY15 (ends Oct. '15) EPS will top $5.
Morgan Stanley ($68 PT) is confident Avago can raise LSI's op. margin to 30% from 17% over the next few years, much as the company has doubled its own op. margin to 30% post-LBO.
PC industry names outperformed amid a broader tech rally, aided by a JPMorgan Intel (INTC +4%) note that argued PC demand is stabilizing, and tablet cannibalization diminishing. A number of chip stocks also rallied strongly (SOXX +2.1%).
Also: Major hard drive suspension assembly maker Hutchinson has reported above-consensus Dec. quarter sales, while citing strong demand for 2.5" notebook drive assemblies. Seagate and Western Digital both rallied.
JPMorgan's Christopher Danely, who upgraded Intel to Overweight, has raised his 2014 estimates soundly above consensus ahead of the chip giant's Thursday Q4 report. Danely notes Intel, Microsoft, H-P, and others have said PC demand is improving, and that Taiwan's big-4 notebook contract manufacturers collectively grew their shipments 7% Q/Q in Q4. Q1 shipments are expected to drop in-line with seasonality.
He also points out tablet shipment growth is decelerating, and forecasts shipments will only rise 25% in 2014 (down from 53% in 2013).
Danely's optimism contrasts with another bearish Intel note from Bernstein's Stacy Rasgon, who estimates five mobile CPU sales are needed to make up for one PC CPU sale, and doubts Intel's foundry business will move the needle.
Avago (AVGO +7.6%) is now up 18% (good for a $2.1B increase in market cap) since announcing a $6.6B deal to acquire LSI yesterday morning. Many of its chip industry peers have also rallied; the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOXX +1.2%) is up 2.5% over the last two days.
The sharply contrasting nature of Avago and LSI's product lines - Avago depends heavily on RF and optical component sales, while LSI depends on storage controllers/adapters and network processors - could be fueling hopes other chipmakers will use M&A to expand their product lines and achieve greater scale.
Today's notable gainers include EZchip (EZCH +6.7%), OmniVision (OVTI +3.6%), Skyworks (SWKS +3%), Cavium (CAVM +3%), Audience (ADNC +5.8%), Cirrus Logic (CRUS +3.4%), and Semtech (SMTC +3%). Cirrus and OmniVision, which both depend heavily on Apple orders, might also be getting a boost from a positive Q4 pre-announcement from Germany's Dialog Semi (gets ~70% of its sales from Apple).
Several firms have hiked their Avago PTs in response to the LSI deal, which is set to be financed with $4.6B in debt and a $1B convertible note investment from Silver Lake (conversion price of just $48.04). Nomura expects the deal to lift Avago's 2015 EPS by $1.00-$1.50; Avago is promising $200M/year in synergies by the end of FY15 (ends Nov. '15). RBC thinks FY15 EPS of ~$5 is possible; the consensus is at $3.89.
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.