NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International team expects impressive growth this year in the worldwide semiconductor market. This global association pegs growth at 5% to 10% in 2011 on $316 billion in sales. SEMI says most of this growth is based on surging demand for tablets and smartphones as well as rebounding consumer confidence. Tablet sales are likely to swell to 200 million devices sold in 2011 from 20 million in 2010.

Meanwhile, global chip sales expanded 8.6% to $75.8 billion during the first quarter of 2011, driven by higher U.S. sales, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association, or SIA.

These eight small-cap stocks from the semiconductor and semiconductor components (integrated circuits) industries have either released their latest quarterly earnings, or are scheduled to release them next week. They each have market capitalizations under $1 billion.

Based on the strong quarterly results reported, or expected, and an optimistic outlook for the upcoming quarter and full year, these stocks have upside potential of between 11% and 87%, with a mean of 44%, based on analysts' consensus estimates polled by Bloomberg.

The stocks are stacked based on upside, great to greatest.

8. Himax Technologies ( HIMX), a holding company, operating through its subsidiary, designs, develops and markets semiconductors that are critical components of flat-panel displays. The company's principal products are display drivers for large-sized, thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display panels, and display drivers for small- and medium-sized TFT-LCD panels. It also offers display drivers for panels using organic, light-emitting diode technology and LTPS technology.

Of the four analysts covering the stock, 25% assign it a buy rating, while 50% rate it a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 10.9% to $2.6 in the upcoming 12 months.

First-quarter 2011 revenue was in line with the guidance at $141.1 million. Gross margin increased 30 basis points on a year-over-year basis to 20.1%. The small- and medium-sized applications segment recorded significant growth momentum during the quarter, with revenue rising 28.9% year-over-year to $59.6 million. In fact, the segment accounted for 42.3% of total revenue as compared to 26.4% in the year-ago quarter.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company expects 10% to 15% sequential revenue growth, while GAAP earnings per share are seen in the range of 2 cents to 3 cents. On the down side, Himax expects gross margin to narrow by 1% to 1.5%, fueled by increased shipments of IC products with low-to-medium margins. The company does, however, target higher margins in the third and fourth quarters.

7. Photronics ( PLAB) engages in the manufacture of photomasks, which are precision photographic quartz plates containing microscopic images of electronic circuits. Photomasks are a key component in the manufacture of semiconductors and flat-panel displays (FPDs), and are used as masters to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers and flat panel substrates. As of year-end 2010, PLAB operated mainly from nine manufacturing facilities.

Of the six analysts covering the stock, 67% recommend it as a buy and 17% say it's a hold. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 31.2% to $10.8 in the upcoming 12 months.

The company is scheduled to release its second-quarter 2011 quarterly earnings on May 16, 2011. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect PLAB to record revenue of $119.6 million, as compared to $105.07 million in the year-ago quarter.

Net income for the quarter is seen at $10.26 million, or 17 cents per share, as compared to $4.72 million, or 14 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin is pegged at 25.17%, up 20% from the year-ago period. Operating profit for the quarter is expected at $15.65 million as compared to $7.62 million in the same quarter of the prior year, thereby improving margins appreciably.

For full-year 2011, the company expects capital expenditure of $75 million to $90 million, revenue between $117 million and $121 million, and earnings per share of 15 cents to 18 cents. For the longer term, the company plans to achieve 15% operating margin.

6. BCD Semiconductor Manufacturing ( BCDS) is an analog integrated-device manufacturer specializing in the design, manufacture and sale of power-management integrated circuits. The company's portfolio of ICs targets markets like mobile phones, portable media players, LCD televisions and monitors, personal computers, adapters and chargers, and other electronics products.

Of the four analysts covering the stock, 75% recommend it as a buy, whereas the remaining rate it a hold. Therefore, there are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 37%, to $13, over the next 12 months.

Total revenue reported for the first quarter of 2011 was $31 million, growing 8.2% from the year-ago period. Net income increased to $3.8 million from $2.7 million in the same quarter of the prior year. On a non-GAAP basis, fully diluted earnings per share stood at 19 cents. For the first quarter, the company's linear products division topped estimates.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company expects revenue to range between $36 million and $38 million, growing 5.6% to 11.5% from the year-ago quarter. Gross margin for the quarter is likely to range between 30% and 31%, compared to 29.1% recorded in the first quarter of 2011.

5. Rda Microelectronics ( RDA), a holding fables semiconductor company, engages in designing, developing and marketing radio-frequency and mixed-signal semiconductors for a range of cellular, broadcast and connectivity applications in consumer electronic devices and mobile handsets. The company's major group of customers is handset manufacturers in China.

All five analysts covering the stock recommend it as a buy, so there are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg foresee the stock gaining an average 38.7%, to $17.7, in the upcoming 12 months.

Total revenue for first-quarter 2011 increased 54.1% year-over-year to $55.2 million, beating the company guidance range of $52 million to $54 million. Net income soared to $7.6 million from $2.7 million earlier.

Earnings per ADS stood at 16 cents, compared to 5 cents in the year-ago quarter. During the quarter, Rda shipped more than 1 million units of its new 55-nanometer Bluetooth system-on-chip products.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company expects to generate revenue in the range of $65 million to $67 million, ahead of analysts' estimates polled by Reuters. The strong momentum in the company's IPD Front End Module, Bluetooth system-on-chip, Low Noise Block, and DVB-S tuner products is likely to fuel growth. Meanwhile, gross margins are expected in the range of 33.4% to 34%, as Rda benefits from the migration to 55-nanometer for its Bluetooth system-on-chip products and the expected growth in higher gross-margin products.

4. Amtech Systems ( ASYS), operating through its wholly owned subsidiaries, engages in supplying horizontal diffusion furnace systems used for solar (photovoltaic) cell and semiconductor manufacturing. The company sells its products and services to the solar and semiconductor industries under the brand names Tempress Systems and Bruce Technologies.

Of the six analysts covering the stock, 83% recommend it as a buy and the remaining rate it as a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Data from Bloomberg has analysts forecasting the stock up 44.4% to $31.1 in the next 12 months.

Net revenue generated during the second quarter of 2011 was $61.3 million, surging 281% from the year-ago quarter. Net income for the quarter stood at $7.5 million, or 77 cents per diluted share, as compared to $206,000, or 2 cents per share, in the year-ago period. On a sequential basis, solar revenue was up 16% with $60 million solar bookings, while the total order backlog was up 13%. As of March 31, 2011, total order backlog stood at $195 million vs. $173 million in 2010.

Heading into the third quarter, the company pegs revenue between $63 million and $66 million. Meanwhile, for full-year 2011, Amtech has raised revenue guidance to exceed $240 million from the earlier estimate of $230 million, representing a 100% increase from its 2010 levels.

3. O2Micro International ( OIIM) designs, develops and markets integrated circuits for power management and security applications, as well as systems security solutions. The company's product-designing efforts mainly focus on integrated circuits for consumer electronics, computers, industrial and communications products.

Of the eight analysts covering the stock, 75% recommend it as a buy and the remaining rate it as a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 46.8% to $10.3 in the upcoming 12 months.

For its first-quarter 2011, the company reported a 3% sequential revenue increase, to $31.1 million. Gross margin was a strong 60% during the quarter, tracking the previous quarter levels. Meanwhile, net income on a GAAP basis stood at $3.1 million, or 9 cents per ADS, as compared to a loss of $636,000, or 2 cents per ADS, for the fourth quarter of 2010.

At the end of the first quarter of 2011, unrestricted cash and short-term investments were $111.6 million. Inventory stood at $12 million during the quarter and turned around 3.9 times. The company's book value was $182 million, or $5.38 per ADS. For the second quarter of 2011, the company expects a 2%-6% sequential revenue increase.

2. Pericom Semiconductor ( PSEM), operating in the interconnectivity device supply market, is mainly focused on designing, developing and marketing high-performance integrated circuits and frequency control products used in advanced electronic systems. Its IC products include functions that support the connectivity, timing and signal conditioning of high-speed parallel and serial protocols.

Of the five analysts covering the stock, 80% recommend it as a buy and the remaining rate it a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Data from Bloomberg has analysts forecasting the stock gaining 57.0%, to $15.5, in the upcoming 12 months.

For the 2011 third quarter, net revenue was reported at $39.6 million, increasing 8% from the year-ago quarter. Excluding special items, non-GAAP net income for the quarter stood at $2.5 million, or 10 cents per share.

Notably, the company said that its book-to-bill ratio exceeded 1.0 for the first time in three quarters. Additionally, sales at its distribution channel rose 3% from the prior quarter with the company launching 17 new products across the signal integrity, timing and connectivity product areas.

Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2011 is estimated in the range of $41.5 million to $43.5 million with other income forecast between $400,000 and $700,000 on a GAAP basis, and $600,000 to $900,000 on a non-GAAP basis. Fourth-quarter GAAP gross margins are expected between 33.3% and 35.3%. Besides, with the company's China factory producing 8 million frequency control products units per month, expanding volumes will contribute positively to its earnings in the second half of 2011.

1. Tower Semiconductor ( TSEM), an independent specialty foundry, manufactures semiconductors using production processes for its customers, based on third-party designs and its own designs. It also manufactures integrated circuits, and provides design services and complementary technical services. The company's products are incorporated across diverse sectors.

Both analysts covering the stock recommend it as a buy, so there are no sell ratings on the stock. Data from Bloomberg has analysts forecasting the stock gaining 87% to $2.4 in the next 12 months.

The company is scheduled to release its first-quarter 2011 earnings on May 17, 2011.

TSEM is likely to record net income of $29.75 million, or 11 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2011, as opposed to a loss of $36.2 million, or 18 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, sales are pegged to reach $126.5 million from $113.8 million recorded in the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin is likely to rise to 41.6% from 14.3% in the year-ago quarter. For 2011 first quarter, operating profit is seen multiplying to $38.95 million from $160,000 in the first quarter of 2010.

Along with Medigus, developer of endoscopic and visualization medical devices, TSEM unveiled the successful sampling of the world's smallest camera for disposal endoscopic devices. Medigus will supply these cameras to customers in Japan and the U.S. for cardiology procedures. The device will also be integrated into Medigus' other endoscopy products.