SAN FRANCISCO -- Great Zeus! Hold on to your toga, the contract manufacturing business isn't going to Hades just yet.
Banc of America Securities
ascribed godlike status to the business of building electronics for others during an overview of the sector Wednesday at the firm's annual investment conference. He said that while contract manufacturing already soaks up 17% of the money spent on building electronics, a stately advance from 8% five years ago, he expects the sector to make a Herculean leap up to 33% of electronics produced by 2005.
It's enough to conjure up visions of your portfolio turning into a shower of gold.
What companies are we talking about?, you scream up to Olympia! Fox rattled off a list of his favorites and blessed them with ample price targets far outstretching their current prices. Fox pegged
( SLR), which is trading at about $47.44 a share, with a $70 price projection and criticized the "state of fear" that surrounds the stock. In looking at all the contract manufacturing companies, Fox praised growing percentages of communications-based business. Solectron has increased its communications revenue to 60% from 40%. (Banc of America has performed underwriting for all the contract manufacturers mentioned.)
has a wondrous 80% of its accelerating revenue tied up in communications, and Fox sees its stock price soaring to $170 from the $100 range. Fox speculated that mighty
has triple the 35% growth rate it offers the Street in guidance, as it pleases customers
earnings warning last week -- and B of A chip analyst Rick Whittington's
subsequent warning on
? Fox hurled lightning bolts at negative speculation about SCI. He called SCI's woes "a temporary problem" caused by "a design flaw in one of its customer's products."
Nothing to write Penelope about, in other words.
He offers a $70 price projection for the company, which needs to redeem itself from having "too much exposure in PCs and set-top boxes." SCI closed Wednesday at $40.94 as share.
Finally, Fox spread out his golden arms to embrace
, a company he estimates could go to $250 a share from its current $82.31 in the next 18 to 24 months. He considers it a "huge stock."
Just one mortal's pick from Salon II in the bowels of the
here. To buy stocks is human; to predict is divine.