Why Freescale Semiconductor (FSL) Is Jumping Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Freescale Semiconductor (FSL) gained 17.8% to $18.02 Wednesday following a positive earnings report and an upgrade from Needham.

In its fourth quarter earnings report, the chipmaker reported earnings of 19 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 18 cents a share. Revenue for the quarter came in at $1.08 billion, beating the consensus estimate of $1.05 billion for the quarter.

Freescale Semiconductor expects revenue of $1.07 billion to $1.11 billion for the first quarter of 2014. Analysts predict revenue of $1.03 billion in the quarter.

On the heels of the earnings report Needham upgraded the chipmaker to "strong buy" from "buy," with a price target of $25, up from $20. Analyst Rajvindra S. Gill cited revenue growth, margin expansion, and deleveraging in his note explaining the upgrade.

"FSL printed a solid beat and raise qrt, with 1Q14 sales guidance handily beating expectations," the analyst wrote. "FSL continues to see strength across its entire product portfolio, with particular growth coming from infrastructure spending in China, 32-bit MCUs and increased dollar content in automotive. FSL removed over $75MM in annual interest expense from the model, significantly de-risking it. We think the combination of accelerating revenue growth and gross margin expansion coupled with deleveraging is a powerful combination for significant earnings leverage over the next 1-2 years."

FSL ChartFSL data by YCharts

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