The end of the litigation between Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) sparked a fire for both of those stocks and the semiconductor sector as a whole. The renewed bullishness for semiconductor stocks could continue through to the rest of the year for one good reason — Apple and Qualcomm agreeing to end the litigation set the stage for friendlier times among technology firms ahead. Instead of fighting for high IP royalty rates, semiconductor stocks could forge multiyear supply deals with its customers.
Sure, investors could risk overpaying for stocks by blindly assuming IP deals are coming. Fortunately, Apple is a big customer and has a high demand for components, benefiting semiconductor suppliers.
What are the five semiconductor stocks to buy for a spring charge?
Semiconductor Stocks to Buy: Qualcomm (QCOM)
Qualcomm and Apple agreed to drop all litigation, including those with Apple’s contract manufacturers. Instead, Apple will pay Qualcomm in addition to signing a six-year license agreement, effective as of Apr. 1, 2019. The companies have an option to extend the deal for another two years. Qualcomm disclosed that the deal will add $2 in incremental EPS.
Even though QCOM shares rose 40% on the week, the company’s fair value rises sharply thanks to the deal with Apple. At a recent price of $79, the stock is trading at a discount because the company could win more supply deals with the top Android phone makers. Competitors cannot afford to let Apple have the best technology and could order Qualcomm’s latest chip solutions to stay ahead.
In the near-term, QCOM stockholders get two immediate positive catalysts. First, uncertainties are no longer an overhanging to the stock because Qualcomm no longer needs to keep going to court. Second, Qualcomm has guaranteed a revenue stream for the next six years. That stability is worth paying for, especially in the cyclical semiconductor market.
Intel Corporation (INTC)
The Qualcomm-Apple settlement led to shares of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) rallying a few points. Intel announced that it would abandon 5G phone modem development. Previously, Apple was rumored to release a 5G iPhone in 2020 that used Intel’s modem. But now that Apple has a deal that allows it to use Qualcomm’s far superior modem instead. If Intel lost the modem business to Qualcomm, one would think INTC stock would fall, not rise.
Intel’s modems are generally inferior to that of QCOM-powered ones. By exiting this market, Intel will become less distracted from the mobile devices market. Instead, it may now turn its sights back on the more profitable business of CPUs in the PC and servers.
Intel’s valuations are very attractive, too. The stock trades at a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 13x. Despite the worrying competition from Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), Intel still has loyal customers on the consumer and business markets. Still, Intel has plenty of work ahead. It is behind on the 7nm chip manufacturing and its latest products are supply-constrained. This is putting a cap on its revenue growth for the near-term.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
Advanced Micro Devices is enjoying a nice uptrend that began at the start of 2019. Valuations are not that compelling, but markets are willing to pay a premium. AMD stock is undergoing a multiyear transition that led to multiple product launches across three main lines of business: server, desktop and graphics cards. All three of these products are potential growth generators for AMD.
In the server space, EPYC’s scalability and computing power give enterprise customers good value compared to Intel’s Xeon chips. CEO Lisa Su may announce Ryzen getting a refresh with a third-generation release next month at Computex. As AMD discounts current-generation Ryzen CPUs for the PC and notebook markets, it could gain market share over Intel.
In the GPU space, the announcement for Navi, a mid-range solution, could help AMD win back market share from Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). Nvidia leaped ahead of AMD with a GTX 1660 Ti release a few months ago. Rumors that a GTX 1650 for just $149 could further Nvidia’s lead over AMD.
NXP Semiconductors (NXPI)
NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) traded above $101 for the first time since Jul. 2018. The stock lost all its value when the Chinese government delayed approval of Qualcomm buying the firm. NXP then earned a break-up fee of $2 billion and proceeded to buy back billions of dollars’ worth of its shares.
Investors should look at NXPI stock again now that markets largely forgave the company for buying back stock at a higher price. Management has a five-year autonomous driving supply plan in place. And with more technology components in vehicles, NXPI will stand to benefit. At a 14.9 times trailing P/E and 11.2 times forward P/E, NXPI stock is an appropriate stock to buy for the spring 2019 session.
NXP is scheduled to reported earnings on April 29. The company’s prudent cost management, design wins and supply deals in 2019 will attract more buyers to the stock, and its ability to focus back on its core strengths will drive the stock back to 52-week highs of over $122. And even at that level, the stock will trade at a discount relative to the free cash flow generation from its businesses.
Micron Technology (MU)
Micron Technology’s (NASDAQ:MU) downside third-quarter guidance failed to scare off investors as the stock rose 28.5% during the quarter. In its second-quarter report, Micron reported DRAM sales falling 28%. NAND did better year-over-year and up 2%. On a quarter-over-quarter comparison, NAND revenue fell 18%.
Micron forecast third-quarter revenue of around $4.8 billion and EPS of between 75 cents and 95 cents. Both numbers are below consensus estimates. Unsurprisingly, several analysts issued “hold” or “sell” calls on MU stock in the last month, according to Tipranks. But collectively, the 25 analysts covering the stock have an average price target of $54.41, representing an upside of around 26%.
Investors should add MU stock to their portfolios this spring for the simple reason that NAND and DRAM prices appear to be stabilizing. Markets adjusted to the U.S.-China tariffs now and place. A refresh in premium smartphones, ongoing demand for memory and high-speed storage for servers and the firming up of PC sales will benefit Micron in the current period.
As of this writing, Chris Lau owned shares of NXP Semiconductors.