NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks that have posted year-to-date gains of more than 60% aren't often considered undervalued, but Marvell (MRVL), after having a brutal 2012 and losing more than 50% of its value, hasn't exactly been an easy company to understand.
While Marvell has made some questionable decisions, such as pursuing markets in areas like Chinese mobile and wireless, the semiconductor giant also has what I consider to be a very underrated applications segment in markets for solid-state drives (SSD). This is an area where it competes with leaders like Micron (MU), which has shown tremendous growth. Not to mention, Marvell also has a strong network processing segment where management has been doing better than holding its own against the likes of Cisco (CSCO).
Even with all of these positives, which suggest that Marvell is a well-diversified operation, the company hasn't exactly been flawless in its execution. Making matters more complicated, Marvell is still dealing with the overhang of patent litigation, which has been ongoing since 2009 and brought upon by Carnegie Mellon University. In a recent case ruling, Marvell was denied request for a new trial. In its appeal to reduce the damages, it was asked to pay off $1.17 billion.
The courts, meanwhile, concluded that Marvell willfully infringed on Carnegie Mellon's patents, which helped the company produce faster-performing chips. To what extent will this "willful" judgment impact Marvell's future earnings? Consequently, despite the company's better-than-expected second-quarter performance, which saw Marvell not only beat its earnings results but also raise guidance, the stock has trended down.Given that the stock is still up by more than 60% on the year, I don't begrudge anyone taking profits. I think it's premature, though, to assume the worse without looking at what's going on within this entire sector. I'm not downplaying the court's verdict, but I also know that "beat-and-raise" quarters in the semiconductor space are like spotting the solar eclipse.
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