Don't Panic Over Qualcomm

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The stock market is a lot of things, but one thing that Wall Street will never be accused of is being fair. Consider Texas Instruments ( TXN), which just completed its sixth consecutive quarter of deteriorating sales. Somehow, the stock sits near its 52-week high.

Meanwhile, as of Tuesday's close of $66.10, shares of Qualcomm ( QCOM) are at about the same level since the chip giant reported record revenue for its fiscal second quarter, its second consecutive strong quarter.

The stock failed to gain ground even though the company raised its revenue and earnings estimates for the year for the second straight quarter. The problem may be Wall Street might have expected even better projections.

I've heard rumblings that somehow Qualcomm signaled increased competitive pressure. The Street seems to fear that the company's chipset margins are under pressure.

Granted mobile-device prices are not as stout as they once were after two years of growth, but I wouldn't get carried away yet. And the Street assumes that management won't figure out a way to offset potential weakness in the company's licenses business.

Plus, Qualcomm reported a 24% increase in revenue for its fiscal second quarter even as the overall chip sector was weak during the first three months of the year. Texas Instruments Intel ( INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD) all posted revenue declines.

Qualcomm also maintained its full-year operating margin estimates for its chipset and licensing businesses.

What's more, the recent earnings report from chip designer ARM Holdings ( ARMH) should allay fears about the direction of the market. ARM shipped 2.6 billion chips during its most recent quarter, an increase of 35%.

Qualcomm licenses technology from ARM, and so any increase in ARM's business signals stronger demand for Qualcomm's chips. Given that it has raised its estimates, I think Qualcomm's management knows something.

As long as the race in mobile devices continues among Apple ( AAPL), Samsung, Amazon ( AMZN) and others, Qualcomm should do well.

Regardless of which platform comes out on top, Qualcomm, by virtue of its market position and designs, wins.

That's not to suggest that rival chip makers Nvidia ( NVDA) and Broadcom ( BRCM) are going to cede the market. And Intel has also been making some progress in mobile.

Here's Making Sense

Still, there are plenty of reasons to love Qualcomm's business, and the stock seems to be cheap at current levels. It trades at 13.39 times projected fiscal 2014 earnings, a point lower than the industry average over the past five years. So I would add shares on any signs of further weakness - at least until growth slows down.

Given the company's market position and excellent management team, now is not the time to panic.

At the time of publication, the author was long Apple.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Richard Saintvilus is a private investor with an information technology and engineering background and the founder and producer of the investor Web site Saint's Sense. He has been investing and trading for over 15 years. He employs conservative strategies in assessing equities and appraising value while minimizing downside risk. His decisions are based in part on management, growth prospects, return on equity and price-to-earnings as well as macroeconomic factors. He is an investor who seeks opportunities whether on the long or short side and believes in changing positions as information changes.

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