Semiconductors

  • 16 Jan
    Why MU could be the smartest semiconductor play in the market

    Why MU could be the smartest semiconductor play in the market

    For the last several days, I’ve been focusing on the semiconductor industry. That’s because as the market has tested bear market levels, semis have slid further than most other industries the market. That decline represents risk, because the almost overwhelming sentiment about semiconductors seems to be more and more bearish. I also think, however, that if you filter through all the angst and anxiety of that bearishness, you can find some interesting opportunities. More →

  • 14 Jan
    Are small-cap semiconductors like BHE a smart bargain?

    Are small-cap semiconductors like BHE a smart bargain?

    Over the last couple of days, I’ve highlighted a couple of the biggest players in the Electronic Equipment industry that supplies the entire Technology sector. I think it’s always interesting, and useful to pay attention to the industries that supply a sector with the materials, services, and manufacturing or fabrication services it relies on. Since I also consider something of a techno-nerd, that also means that stocks like KLAC, LRCX, and today’s spotlight, Benchmark Electronics Inc. (BHE) are almost always going to pique my interest. More →

  • 11 Jan
    Is LRCX a big value opportunity, or a big value trap?

    Is LRCX a big value opportunity, or a big value trap?

    Did you study the California gold rush in your high school history class? I did, and I remember that one of the most interesting things to me about it was the fact that over the seven years that marked the period, the people that made the most money weren’t prospectors; they were the entrepreneurs that flocked to the territory to sell equipment and supplies to those prospectors. As an investor, I’ve found interesting parallels to those entrepreneurs in the industries that supply the major sectors of the American economy. More →

  • 10 Jan
    KLAC is a semiconductor stock for smart value investors

    KLAC is a semiconductor stock for smart value investors

    When market uncertainty gives way to fear, stocks generally tend to fall, and while the market in the past week has been trying to rebound from lows in December that tested bear market territory for the major indices, the general tone has really focused more on the negative than anything else. If investors and analysts aren’t wringing their hands over trade, then it’s interest rates; and if not interest rates, then it’s global economic growth. Indications this week have mostly been positive on the trade front as officials from  the U.S. and China met to discuss a trade deal. This morning, however reports that a breakthrough didn’t happen seem to be giving investors reason all over again to start worrying. More →

  • 03 Jan
    AAPL’s bad news could be GREAT news for QCOM – but probably not yet

    AAPL’s bad news could be GREAT news for QCOM – but probably not yet

    Early this morning, one of the biggest drivers of market volatility was Apple Inc. (AAPL), which disappointed investors by slashing their revenue forecast dramatically. AAPL appears to be trying to manage the conversation around the reasons for that, as they attributed the largest portion of the decline to weakness in China. That is clearly spooking the market today, as this news seems to add credence to the notion that China’s economic slowdown is starting to have a long-feared trickle effect on U.S. multinationals. There is an interesting element of the story, however that I think is being overlooked quite a bit by most investors and that could represent an interesting long-term opportunity. More →

  • 19 Dec
    A semiconductor bear market is a good long-term opportunity for stocks like SWKS

    A semiconductor bear market is a good long-term opportunity for stocks like SWKS

    The market has not been kind to the semiconductor over the past several months; since the beginning of September, the sector has led the broad market to the downside, with its overall decline since then at nearly 17%. That covers almost all of the sector’s almost 20% drop since March of this year, and clearly puts the sector ahead of the rest of the market, even as it pushes deeper into correction territory. More →

  • 09 Nov
    AMAT is down more than 50% from its top – has it finally found bottom?

    AMAT is down more than 50% from its top – has it finally found bottom?

    Throughout most of this year, semiconductors have been perhaps the most distressed sector of the market. Before bottoming at the end of the October, the sector had dropped a little over 21% from its high point in mid-March as measured by the iShares Semiconductor ETF (SOXX), and is still down nearly 15% as of Thursday’s close. This is a sector that is dominated by large-cap, well-known names like Intel (INTC), Texas Instruments (TXN), and Qualcomm (QCOM), to name just a few. More →

  • 08 Nov
    Why government gridlock could be a good thing for these 2 sectors

    Why government gridlock could be a good thing for these 2 sectors

    October was a rough month for the stock market, proven by the decline of the NASDAQ and Dow Jones Industrial Average into clear correction territory, while the S&P 500 halted its own slide just shy of that mark. It was enough to put a lot of investors and analysts on edge and start to wonder if the good times were finally coming to an end.

    What a difference a week makes! After closing out the worst October, and one-month period in a decade, the market has rebounded strongly over the last week. The Dow is up a little over 6.6%, the NASDAQ 8.3%, and the S&P 500 6.7% in that time. This week may have provided an unexpected catalyst for the market to push back and retest the all-time highs set in late September. Mid-term elections on Tuesday left Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, while Republicans kept their spot in the driver’s seat in the Senate.



    Depending on your political view, a divided government may not be a good thing; major reforms or initiatives from either side of aisle become more difficult without one party in control of both houses of government. It isn’t unreasonable to suggest that one of the reasons President Trump could afford to be as confrontational as he has, with a consistent, “my way or the highway” attitude about everything from tax reform, trade and most certainly his major staff advisors and political appointees is because Republicans controlled Congress and the Senate. That usually meant that even if a lot of Republicans and conservatives criticized his approach, the party at large generally fell into line behind him.

    As an investor, it’s not always easy to separate investing discipline and objectivity from political opinion and preference. That becomes harder when politics have a clear and direct impact on economic progress and market behavior. The Tax Reform Act at the end of last year is a good example; the tax savings that became available almost immediately to corporate America were certainly a catalyst for the market’s recovery from its first correction at the beginning of the year. In that light, the impact that midterm elections has on the market now could come from the government’s likely inability for the next couple of years to push any major changes.

    I’ve always believed that if there is anything the market really doesn’t like, and is most likely to react negatively to, it’s change. Investors like predictability, and we rely on measurements that offer a certain level of reliability to guide investment decisions. The status quo means that the things we use to drive our decisions remain relatively constant, and we don’t have to worry as much about changing our method or our approach. When something threatens to change the investing landscape, investors naturally get nervous.



    After eight years of a long, sustained bullish run that made a lot of investors think the easiest and best way to make money way in the stock market was to buy a passive index fund and just let it ride – “invest it and forget it,” if you will – the market rediscovered volatility this year. A big part of that was influenced by openly aggressive and confrontational politics from the Trump administration. Tariffs imposed every one of America’s largest and most important trading partners may indeed prove to have been the right move in the long run, but the tensions that came from seeing those long-standing trade relationships continue to keep the market on edge. A split government may not be able to put the cat back int the bag of things the Trump administration has already put back in place, the lack of consensus is also likely to make continued progress and changes that much harder to come by. The hope that the market seems to be keying on right now is that a natural check from a split House against the Oval Office could help restore the status quo and give investors a return at least some kind of  predictability that can help keep the stock market’s bullish trend in place.

    Assuming this happens, it’s entirely possible that the market could stage yet another broad-based rally to a new set of all-time highs. Which are the sectors that might be the biggest beneficiaries? I think there are two; here they are.



    Industrials

    While a divided House may blunt many of the reforms and initiatives the Trump administration still has plans for, one of the things that both sides seem to agree on is the need for improved infrastructure. A major spending bill may be hard to come by, but any progress on this front should act as a positive for this sector. Consider also that tariff and trade concerns have put major pressure on the sector throughout the year; even with the sector’s rebound since the end of October, which is about 10% from October 30th to now as measured by the SPDR Industrial Sector ETF (XLI), it remains down by a little over 10% from its 52-week highs. That gives the industry lots of room to rally even more, with increased chances that the absence of political complications could contribute even more.

    Semiconductors

    This sector has been one of the biggest underperformers throughout the year, as pricing and supply pressures among chipmakers have pushed stocks lower. A major argument for the President’s aggressive trade stance towards China has centered around the semiconductor industry and concerns about intellectual property protections and even theft. Many of the pricing pressures that have pushed semi stocks lower may not abate quickly. I also think, however that a changed political reality could force the Trump administration to try to make a trade deal with China more quickly than it might do otherwise; and I would expect that to provide at least an emotional reason for investors to start making new bets on a sector that has been beaten down by almost 15%, based on the Ishares Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) from its 52-week highs.


  • 25 Oct
    Fundamental strength alone isn’t enough to make TXN a good buy right now

    Fundamental strength alone isn’t enough to make TXN a good buy right now

    The last couple of weeks have seen market volatility return in a big way, and with it fear seems to be increasing quite a bit this week. I think part of it is because investors are starting to realize how close the market is right now to an important inflection point. As of yesterday’s close, the tech-dominated NASDAQ had officially dropped more than 10% below its last all-time high, which was reached back in late August. To add insult to injury, both the Dow and the S7P 500 have given back almost all of the gains they’ve achieved since the last correction that ended in March of this year, and are now slightly lower for the entire year. More →

  • 12 Oct
    These 2 sectors have taken the biggest beating from the latest market rout

    These 2 sectors have taken the biggest beating from the latest market rout

    There’s really nothing like a little bit of volatility in the stock market to make people sit up and take notice. Whether you’re a seasoned, everyday investor or a relative neophyte putting a couple of hundred dollars each month into a 401(k) account, the last couple of days have prompted just about anybody that is trying to make their money work for them with the stock market wonder what is going on. More →

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