Texas Instruments ( TXN): The chip maker was downgraded to underperform from market perform at FBR Capital Markets as part of a larger call on the semiconductor makers ahead of second-quarter reporting season. The firm, which also dropped its 12-month price target to $24.50 from $30, said it sees "more downside risks" for Texas Instruments than other chip stocks "trading near trough valuations." "TI's 3Q12 revenue guidance could be worse than the Street (like many peers) and with risk to the Street's 2013 estimates," FBR said. "Further, we are concerned about challenges in TI's wireless business, gross margin impacts from its 1Q12 die bank inventory build-ahead, and whether TI has too much capacity following its National acquisition. Valuation seems elevated compared to most peers."
The firm also lowered price targets and earnings estimates on Atmel ( ATML), Linear Technology ( LLTC), Maxim Integrated Products ( MXIM), Nvidia ( NVDA) and ON Semiconductor ( ONNN). Shares of Texas Instruments closed Friday at $27.02, down 8% so far in 2012. Panera Bread ( PNRA): Panera Bread should be in focus Monday after Piper Jaffray lowered its rating on shares of the bakery-cafe operator to underweight from overweight, citing turnover in the management team. "Based on our 'human capital trumps financial capital' thesis we recognize a high degree of execution risks until executive positions are filled," the firm wrote. "We recognize this thesis may be construed at the very best as 'contrarian' given the company retains a strong balance sheet (ie $200+ million cash), positive same-store sales trends and a healthy level of unit growth. In the short-term we do very strongly believe our FY12 estimates remain achievable." Piper left its estimates for the second quarter and the whole of fiscal 2012 intact but lowered its earnings view for fiscal 2013 to $6.43 a share from $6.62 a share. "Looking forward however, we have reduced confidence (which resulted in our lowered projections) based on a lack of relative upside to mix shift, pending assessment of comp volatility based on National TV advertising and again...overall strategic and tactical execution risks," said the firm, which dropped its 12-month price target to $129 from $165. Panera shares closed Friday at $147.31, up 1.5% so far in 2012. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.