The opportunity for semiconductor companies to leverage sales and margin expansion at this point of the cycle is "far greater than any analyst is willing to put into print," Smith Barney said in a research note Friday. The brokerage raised its price target on a handful of names that it conceded already have a lot of high expectations in their valuations.
The brokerage upped its price target on
to $25 from $17; raised it on
to $21 from $16; raised it on
to $44 from $35; and raised it on
to $44 from $27.
The brokerage, which also raised earnings and sales estimates on those names, noted that "high stock valuations remain a major challenge currently," but said the targets reflect new modeling that incorporates fresh 2005 estimates. Smith Barney remains underweight the semiconductor sector.
While standard valuations are indeed high, semiconductor investors can occasionally look past them at this point in a cycle, the brokerage said.
"In our view, investors are ignoring current chip stock valuations because past cycles have shown that sales and margin for chip companies during an upcycle is far greater than any analyst is comfortable putting into print," it wrote. Among other reasons, the four companies were selected because of their long operating histories and because "product themes" make a longer view feasible.
Smith Barney noted that
remains its favorite semiconductor stock because of the potential for margin leverage, and noted that
probably has room for further earnings upside.