Lam Research is another chip-equipment name to watch, outperforming competitor KLA-Tencor in 2012, up 15.8%.
Last week, Lam Research reported earnings of 34 cents per share on $584 million in revenue. Analysts expected Lam Research to earn 30 cents per share on revenue of $571.7 million.The company is in the process of acquiring Novellus Systems (NVLS), which it announced in December. The eventual merger between Novellus and Lam should drive synergies in chip equipment making, and allow for these companies to command higher prices for their products. Morningstar analyst Andy Ng analyst wrote in a research note Lam is one of the more impressive chip equipment companies he covers, as it has been gaining market share in both etch and clean markets. Etch is the step in where circuits are formed by selectively removing material. Ng also noted that the company has been among the most profitable firms in its industry, thanks to its flexible and efficient manufacturing model. He has a fair value of $40 on Lam Research. Stifel Nicolaus analyst Patrick J. Ho noted that due to strong earnings results from Samsung, this should benefit Lam Research, as Ho estimates 20%-25% of Lam's revenue comes from Samsung. He has a buy rating and a $60 price target on shares of Lam Research.