Wed, May 27, 3:00 PM
- Chip stocks are posting outsized gains (SOXX +4%) amid a 1.3% increase for the Nasdaq after the WSJ reported Avago and Broadcom are in advanced merger talks, sparking hopes for further M&A.
- A Broadcom/Avago deal would be worth ~$67B at current valuations, easily making it the largest in the chip industry's breathless consolidation wave. It would also touch markets ranging from smartphones to set-tops to servers to switches/routers.
- Notable gainers include Avago RF chip peers Skyworks (SWKS +4.3%), Qorvo (QRVO +3.2%), and Anadigics (ANAD +4.9%). Others include Micron (MU +3.8%), SanDisk (SNDK +4.3%), NXP (NXPI +3.5%), Silicon Motion (SIMO +8.3%), Cirrus Logic (CRUS +4.8%), STMicroelectronics, (STM +3.4%), Synaptics (SYNA +3.4%), Atmel (ATML +2.8%), Cavium (CAVM +4.5%), Intersil (ISIL +4.6%), Semtech (SMTC +3.9%), ON Semi (ON +3.8%), Microsemi (MSCC +4.4%), and IDT (IDTI +4.2%).
- Non-chipmakers tied to the industry are also doing well. Standouts include ARM (ARMH +4.4%), Amkor (AMKR +4.6%), ASML (ASML +3.1%), and Rambus (RMBS +3.3%).
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Tue, May 12, 10:05 AM
- STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) has used its 2015 investor day to state it's exploring options to cut losses at its Digital Product Group (DPG), a division that makes set-top ICs, image sensors, and embedded processors (among other products). "This problem needs to be fixed and we will fix it," says CEO Carlo Bozotti.
- DPG's revenue fell 27% Y/Y in Q1 to $207M (12% of total revenue); STM blamed a drop legacy sales related to the shuttered ST-Ericsson JV, along with declining image sensor and low-end set-top IC sales. OmniVision and Sony provide tough competition in the image sensor; Broadcom is a fierce rival in the set-top IC space.
- DPG's performance led STMicro's broader Embedded Processing Solutions (EPS) segment (34% of total revenue, also covers microcontrollers and memory chips) to report a Q1 op. loss of $64M (improved from -$82M a year earlier). STMicro stated on its Q1 CC (transcript) it's working to cut costs within EPS, primarily via DPG.
- The European chipmaker has also guided today for Q2 revenue and gross margin to hit the midpoints of the guidance ranges set in its April 30 Q1 report. Shares are recovering a portion of their big post-earnings losses.
Tue, May 12, 9:16 AM
Sat, May 2, 3:42 PM
- iPhone/iPad combo chip supplier Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) is providing a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/NFC/FM radio combo chip for the Apple Watch (NASDAQ:AAPL), according to an ABI Research teardown of the Watch's S1 chip module. As expected, NXP supplies a complementary NFC controller.
- The teardown also uncovered a 6-axis STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) motion sensor (accelerometer/gyproscope). There has been some debate about whether InvenSense (NYSE:INVN) will be a motion sensor supplier for the Watch, as it is for the iPhone 6.
- Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI) supplies a touch controller IC. Barclays reported in March ADI had scored multiple design wins to enable Apple's Force Touch pressure-based response feature (supported by the Watch) on future iPhones/iPads.
- IDT (NASDAQ:IDTI) supplies a wireless charging IC. The design win comes after Samsung opted to use a Texas Instruments charging IC within the Galaxy S6; IDC supplies a chip for the S6's charging pad. Dialog Semi (OTC:DLGNF) provides a power management chip.
- SanDisk/Toshiba (NASDAQ:SNDK) supply an 8GB NAND flash chip, and Micron/Elpida (NASDAQ:MU) a 4Gb (512MB) SRAM chip. SRAM typically carries higher ASPs than DRAM for a given amount of capacity (it's also faster).
- In the near-term (and perhaps longer), Watch volumes will likely amount to a small fraction of iPhone volumes - whereas Apple sold 192.7M iPhones in 2014, IDC forecasts 15.9M 2015 Watch shipments, and more bullish estimates are still generally in the ~20M range. However, strong growth is expected over the next several years, and the first-gen Watch serves as a valuable reference win when competing for other smartwatch/wearable designs.
Thu, Apr. 30, 2:57 PM
- In addition to missing Q1 estimates, STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) has guided for Q2 revenue to be up 3.5% Q/Q (+/- 3.5%). That implies a revenue midpoint of $1.77B, below a $1.82B consensus.
- Q1 sales were hurt by a 16% Y/Y drop in analog/MEMS revenue to $255M; iPhone 6 share loss to InvenSense was a factor, as was a $15M one-time gain in the year-ago quarter. Automotive chip revenue fell 3% to $434M, and industrial & power discrete revenue (hurt by soft PC sales) 3% to $430M.
- Digital power group (set-top/cable modem chips and legacy ST-Ericsson products) sales fell 27% to $207M (possible share loss to Broadcom). Microcontrollers (MCUs), memory, and secure MCUs were a strong point, rising 8% to $374M; Samsung smartphone design wins for the STM32 flash microcontroller line provided a boost.
- Shares had already already sold off going into to earnings, thanks in part to weak reports from peers. They're down 20% from an April 22 close of $9.94.
- Q1 results, PR
Thu, Apr. 30, 12:45 PM
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Wed, Apr. 29, 1:26 PM
- European tech firms Nokia (NOK -2.5%), Alcatel-Lucent (ALU -4.4%), ARM (ARMH -2.8%), and STMicroelectronics (STM -2.6%) have sold off following broad declines for continental exchanges.
- The U.K.'s FTSE 100, France's CAC 40, and Germany's Deutsche Borse have respectively fallen 1.2%, 2.6% and 3.2%, and the EURO STOXX 50 index has dropped 2.7%. Over in the U.S., the Nasdaq is down 0.9%, and the S&P 0.7%.
- The selloff has come amid a 1.5% gain for the euro against the dollar, continuing a recent rebound. The euro/dollar exchange rate is back up to 1.11. It has also coincided with sharp increases in European debt yields.
- Nokia reports earnings tomorrow morning, and merger partner Alcatel-Lucent (past deal coverage) on May 7. ARM rallied last week in response to a Q1 revenue beat driven by strong royalty growth.
Thu, Apr. 23, 12:20 PM
- While the Nasdaq is up 0.3%, chip stocks are selling off (SOXX -1.8%) after Texas Instruments, Xilinx, and Qualcomm all provided soft calendar Q2 guidance. TI and Xilinx also missed Q1 sales estimates, while Qualcomm beat.
- Decliners include Avago (AVGO -3.7%), Qorvo (QRVO -2.5%), Freescale (FSL -3%), STMicroelectronics (STM -3.6%), Atmel (ATML -2.3%), PMC-Sierra (PMCS -2.5%), Fairchild (FCS -2.2%), Cypress (CY -2.1%), Audience (ADNC -6.6%), IDT (IDTI -4.5%), Vishay (VSH -2.9%), AppliedMicro (AMCC -2.3%), and Cavium (CAVM -4.4%). NXP, ON Semi, Linear, Microchip, and Maxim remain lower after falling AH yesterday.
- With the decliners including many microcontroller, analog/mixed-signal, and telecom equipment chipmakers, TI (TXN -7.3%) might be the biggest culprit: The analog/DSP giant blamed soft telecom equipment and consumer electronics demand for its numbers, with particular weakness in mobile infrastructure (a 2014 strong point) and PCs; auto and industrial demand was healthier.
- On its CC (transcript), TI attributed the mobile weakness to delayed carrier capacity upgrades. This morning, mobile infrastructure giant Ericsson posted a Q1 miss blamed in part on weak North American 4G spending.
- Likewise, Xilinx (XLNX -1.3%), which has strong 4G infrastructure exposure, stated on its CC (transcript) wireless sales were weaker than expected due to "continued softness in North America and a weakening in China LTE business." Wired infrastructure sales were in-line, and other markets outperformed.
- Qualcomm largely blamed its guidance on the iPhone 6's share gains and a loss of chip share at Samsung, rather than industry demand issues. Altera, Freescale, Maxim, Microsemi, and Synaptics report after the close.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
- 8 days ago: Chip stocks rally following Intel/Linear's earnings
Wed, Apr. 22, 12:51 PM
- Craig-Hallum has launched coverage on STMicroelectronics (STM +2.8%) with a Buy rating and $13 target ahead of the chipmaker's April 30 Q1 report. Shares are close to a 52-week high of $10 - they also rallied yesterday.
- Strong Galaxy S6 sales - STM is supplying the phone's touch controller, and might also be supplying (along with InvenSense) motion sensors - could act as a Q1/Q2 tailwind. Meanwhile, peers have reported strong Q1 industrial and auto chip sales.
Tue, Apr. 21, 3:27 PM
- Today's notable tech gainers include Chinese online retailer Vipshop (VIPS +4.9%), European chipmaker STMicroelectronics (STM +5.1%), IP risk-protection services firm RPX (RPXC +4.1%), Wi-Fi hardware maker Aerohive (HIVE +4.8%), Indian ISP/data services firm Sify (SIFY +5.2%), and software outsourcing firm Luxoft (LXFT +3.9%). The Nasdaq is up 0.5%.
- Notable decliners include 3 e-commerce-focused firms: Online women's/children's apparel seller Zulily (ZU -6.5%) e-commerce listing/monetization service provider ChannelAdvisor (ECOM -5.1%), and online coupon/promo code provider RetailMeNot (SALE -3.9%). Also off is ultracapacitor maker Maxwell (MXWL -6.1%).
- Vipshop is once more near a high of $30.59. STMicro is closing in on a 52-week high of $10.00 ahead of its April 30 Q1 report. Possible helping Aerohive: The company has launched a new channel partner program and hired Riverbed/EMC vet Johnna Bowley to run it.
- Maxwell is once more within a dollar of a 52-week low of $6.29; its Q1 report is due on Thursday. Zulily is slightly more than a dollar above a post-IPO low of $12.34. ChannelAdvisor reports on May 4, and RetailMeNot on May 5.
- Previously covered: Cybersecurity stocks, chip equipment stocks, 3D Systems/Stratasys, ARM, ServiceSource, Ultra Clean, 58.com, Tremor Video, Voltari, Rambus, Sanmina
Tue, Apr. 14, 6:42 PM
- Discussing his upgrade of InvenSense (NYSE:INVN) to Buy (following months of caution), Rosenblatt's Brian Blair states he no longer thinks InvenSense will lose "meaningful" Galaxy S6 share to motion sensor archrival STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM). He also believes InvenSense has won back share at fast-growing Chinese OEM Xiaomi.
- Blair notes an STMicro sensor is part of a Qualcomm reference design for its Snapdragon processors - Samsung opted to solely use its Exynos 7420 app processor in the S6. A Chipworks teardown turned up a 6-axis InvenSense gyroscope/accelerometer for the S6, which (from all signs) is seeing brisk initial demand.
- Blair still thinks an STMicro Apple Watch design win (something forecast in a March note) would be a "meaningful blow" to InvenSense. However, a recent Chipworks Apple Watch teardown suggests Apple went with the same InvenSense sensor found in the iPhone 6 (the MP67B).
- InvenSense rose 3.5% in regular trading today. STMicro fell 1.3%.
Fri, Apr. 3, 3:20 PM
- Whereas Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) had six chips designed into many Galaxy S5 models, a Chipworks teardown of Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 didn't turn up a single Qualcomm part.
- In addition to eschewing the Snapdragon 810 app processor (widely reported, and hinted at by Qualcomm itself) in favor of its 8-core Exynos 7420, Samsung (possibly prioritizing margins over performance/battery life) replaced Qualcomm baseband modem, power management, RF transceiver, and envelope tracking chips with home-grown parts. As expected, Samsung is also using its own DRAM/NAND chips and image processor.
- Though Chipworks says it needs to confirm, the site believes Samsung is also using its own NFC controller. NXP (NASDAQ:NXPI) supplies the S5's NFC controller (as well as the iPhone 6's).
- Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) might also be a casualty of Samsung's attempts to buy local: Whereas the S5 contained a Wi-Fi module from Broadcom combo chip client Murata, Chipworks uncovered a Samsung Wi-Fi module - Samsung has already been using home-grown combo chips in cheaper phones. On the other hand, a Broadcom GPS/GNSS chip is included.
- A Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) wireless power receiver handles wireless charging for the S6; many expected IDT (NASDAQ:IDTI), which supplies a transmitter chip for the S6's wireless charging pad, would score the design. Meanwhile, Cirrus Logic's (NASDAQ:CRUS) Wolfson unit supplies an audio codec IC, and Maxim (NASDAQ:MXIM) is providing an audio amplifier and complementary power management IC.
- Skyworks (NASDAQ:SWKS) and Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO) have won RF slots: The former provides a multi-mode/multi-band front-end module and antenna switch, and the latter two power amplifier modules. Both companies also had S5 design wins.
- Not surprisingly, InvenSense (NYSE:INVN) is providing a 6-axis gyroscope/accelerometer (the MPU-6500). As was rumored, STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) won the touch controller slot, beating out S5 supplier Synaptics.
- While Qualcomm lost out on the S6, the company has landed a number of other Snapdragon 810 design wins for high-end Android phones. The Snapdragon 820, which sports a next-gen ARM CPU core (Kryo) and Qualcomm's Zeroth neural networking tech, begins sampling in 2H15. 3D SoCs (said to enable a 50% shrink in die size) are expected to enter testing in 2016.
- The Chipworks teardown follows a long list of glowing reviews for the S6 - reviewers especially like the 2K display and Samsung's decision to go with a metal/glass body instead of the usual plastic - and reports of production hikes and strong pre-orders. Sales start on April 10.
- Update: A Chinese S6 teardown turned up a chip said to be an NXP NFC part; its name (the 66T05) is very different from the chips in NXP's announced NFC controller line. A Sprint RDF file indicates Sprint's version of the S6 features Qualcomm's MDM9635 modem. That suggests Samsung could use Qualcomm modems for phones requiring 3G EV-DO compatibility (those used by Sprint, Verizon, and a handful of overseas carriers).
Thu, Mar. 26, 10:50 AM
- The Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX -1.8%) is now down 6% over the last two days. Today's losses come after NAND flash giant SanDisk issued a Q1 warning and withdrew its full-year guidance - price pressure, soft enterprise sales, and delayed product qualifications were all blamed.
- Meanwhile, some are partly blaming yesterday's big selloff on cautious remarks from TSMC (has an estimated ~50% global foundry share) at a Credit Suisse conference. CS analyst Randy Abrams reports TSMC (NYSE:TSM) has observed "a slowdown in the past 4-5 weeks due to US$ strength impacting European and emerging market purchasing power," and that inventories "will be a few days above seasonal exiting 1Q15." Pac Crest downgraded TSMC two weeks ago on inventory concerns.
- Following an Asian trip, Susquehanna's Chris Caso has argued there isn't too much to be alarmed about, though he admits forex could be an issue. "There’s mixed signals here and there. We weren’t picking up anything that was tremendously different across the supply chain. PCs were the weakest area. That’s really not a surprise."
- RF chipmakers Skyworks (SWKS -4.6%) and Qorvo (QRVO -2.1%), among 2014's best performers, are again selling off; peer Avago is off only slightly. Also seeing further profit-taking are Ambarella (AMBA -3%), NXP (NXPI -3.6%), Freescale (FSL -2.8%), Cavium (CAVM -3.2%), and STMicroelectronics (STM -4.5%).
- Among equipment makers, Axcelis (ACLS -2.9%), Aixtron (AIXG -3.6%), Veeco (VECO -3%), and Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC -2.5%) are declining. A selloff in European equities could be affecting Aixtron, NXP/Freescale, and STMicro.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
- Update: Credit Suisse, Goldman, and Deutsche have each offered thoughts on the chip selloff.
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
STM vs. ETF Alternatives
STMicroelectronics NV designs, develops, manufactures and markets semiconductor products used in different microelectronic applications, including automotive products, computer peripherals, telecommunications systems, consumer products, & control systems.
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