SAN FRANCISCO -- With the new year upon us, it seems that semiconductor equipment stocks are ready to party like it's ... no, we can't say that.
Still, shares of semi-equipment stocks soared today on reports that
was soliciting bids for $1.2 billion in equipment for a new semiconductor manufacturing plant, sources said. In addition,
SoundView Financial Group
upgraded three equipment manufacturers --
-- also giving the sector a boost.
Philadelphia Semiconductor Index
rose 2.2% behind gains in a number of stocks.
O'Brien upgraded Lam Research to a buy from hold, KLA-Tencor to a strong buy from hold and Teradyne to strong buy from buy. Lam Research was up 33% today, while KLA was up 15% and Teradyne 8.3%. SoundView Financial has not performed any underwriting for these companies.
"I've been cautious based on valuations vs. perceived fundamentals," said O'Brien. "The fundamentals are getting stronger and I'm willing to put a higher multiple than I was before."
Brett Hodess, analyst with
NationsBanc Montgomery Securities
, said the news about Samsung has been around for a while, but more people have been talking about it the past two days.
"The fundamentals are starting to slowly improve and you have a strong stock market where people latch on to any good news," said Hodess, who
looks like a hero for having suggested that the sector was bottoming out in July.
More Analysts' Upgrades
got help not only from the ongoing
conference, but also reports that
Warburg Dillon Read
analyst Charles Wolf began coverage of the company with a buy rating and a target price of 50. Apple was up 2 1/16 to 43 5/16. He also initiated coverage of
with buy ratings. Shares of
also rallied. Wolf has a hold rating on the stock.
Finally, shares of
ended up 5 1/2 to 146 1/2 following news that
raised the price target on the stock to 185.