Unsurprisingly, technology firm Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is enjoy a strong year in 2019. After years of ugly legal battles with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) over patent disputes, the two giants settled their differences. Immediately, QCOM stock shot to the moon.
Of course, shares have settled down into their usual cadence, ebbing and flowing based on the news or interpretations of earnings reports. Still, Qualcomm stock is up 37% for the year. Outside of an extremely bearish news item, QCOM seems assured of closing out 2019 deep in the black.
That said, some of the positive momentum appears to be waning. For instance, QCOM stock recently incurred three negative sessions in a row. And yesterday, Sept. 16, was particularly interesting.
On this day, Qualcomm announced that it would buy the rest of its interest in RF360 Holdings, a joint venture between QCOM and TDK (OTCMKTS:TTDKY). RF360 specializes in RF front-end filters, which are necessary components in rolling out the 5G network.
According to a statement from Qualcomm, the acquisition enables the organization to “deliver a truly complete solution” for mobile platforms. Theoretically, the news should lift Qualcomm stock. Thanks to rival Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) bungled attempt at developing 5G modems, QCOM enjoys significant breathing room.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the markets viewed things. Instead, QCOM stock slipped about 0.5% in the Monday session.
This is hardly a time to panic. Nevertheless, it is interesting that despite having a clear advantage in the 5G arena, Qualcomm stock has not been able to capitalize on it recently. Still, I wouldn’t give up on this compelling tech opportunity.
Nearer-Term Concerns Conflict with Longer-Term Narrative
Just as it’s not surprising that QCOM stock is having an outstanding year overall, it’s also no mystery why shares have recently slowed.
Primarily, the ongoing U.S.-China trade war puts a damper on most industries. More worryingly, some economic experts have voiced their concerns that the trade war could drag on for years. Such a scenario is especially problematic for Qualcomm stock. The San Diego-headquartered tech firm generates about 65% of its revenue from China.
Moreover, troubles in Europe, such as Brexit and Germany teetering toward recession, weigh on global markets. Logically, if Europe’s biggest economic powers hit choppy waters, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the continent. Also, such a negative development hurts broader consumer demand.
After all, 5G-ready phones are rare. And if you really want one, you’re going to have to pay a pretty penny. According to CNBC, you’re looking at $1,300 for a Samsung Galaxy S10+ 5G, which runs on Qualcomm’s current Snapdragon 8 platform.
Moreover, the 5G rollout has only occurred in limited locations. Thus, if you’re not in one of those areas, you’re out of luck. In the here and now, these nearer-term concerns weigh on QCOM stock.
That said, speculators may want to advantage these lulls in the pricing dynamics for Qualcomm stock. The tech firm is hard at work in not only driving innovation, but also toward implementing cost efficiencies. Earlier this month, management announced that they’re developing 5G platforms for less expensive phones.
Just as importantly, this news item coincides with telecom giants AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) committing to developing 5G infrastructures in dozens of major U.S. cities. Thus, the tech-based fundamentals for QCOM stock are lagging the underlying infrastructure. But by the end of next year, this situation should resolve itself.
Geopolitics Favor QCOM Stock
Understandably, many investors are leery about tech names. That sentiment would only be amplified during a recession.
But even here, I think Qualcomm stock has some safety measures. Amid the natural capitalistic drive to develop 5G technologies, a geopolitical motivation exists as well. Like it or not, we’re embroiled in a tech cold war with our adversaries, primarily Russia and China.
Everyone is seeking to gain an edge here. Tomorrow’s wars may not be kinetic but instead digital. As such, America’s brightest tech firms dominating the landscape isn’t just a matter of pride; it’s also a matter of national security.
Thus, when push comes to shove, I see federal oversight and regulation as less of a concern. While enforcing privacy and antitrust laws are important, they pale in comparison to potentially losing the tech cold war. It’s just another factor to keep in mind if you’re considering QCOM stock.
As of this writing, Josh Enomoto is long AT&T stock.