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Chipmaker stocks to watch if the PC market improves

By Chris Lau for Kapitall.

Prospects for the PC Segment are looking better these days. After IDC reported a lower drop in sales for Q2, the data suggests there could be some bullishness ahead for the PC market.

PC shipments fell 1.7 percent in Q2, which is better than the forecast of a 7.1 percent drop. The bear phase for PC suppliers could be over, which would be welcome news for giants like Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC).

Two combinations could be helping stem the decline in PC demand. Lower interest in tablets, such as those produced by Samsung, is helping. The end of support for Windows XP could be the second catalyst. This means yearly growth in demand for PCs could be flat for the year.

AMD in focus

Since both Intel and Microsoft are already up nicely, investors might want to focus on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) instead. Intel’s stock is mostly pricing in the strong rebound in PC demand, as is Microsoft’s stock. Microsoft shares are also helped by new leadership, the purchase of Nokia’s (NOK) devices division, and strong quarterly results for enterprise software sales.

AMD’s stock is underperforming its peers. The chip maker continues to frighten investors who do not believe its turnaround is in place. AMD’s rebound in the PC market may be lagging, but its Kaveri chipset is in a good position to grow market share over the next few quarters. AMD offers superior onboard graphics performance at low power and heat output. Intel is a formidable competitor in the budget space, but prefers the mid and high end market for better profitability.

AMD’s graphics division will benefit from stronger PC demand, as well NVIDIA (NVDA). Still, AMD now supplies the silicon chips for all console makers. As AMD de-emphasizes on the PC market and moves to the semicustom market, investors get to hold a more diversified, lower risk chip play.

Disclosure: Author holds AMD shares.


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