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Alex Cho

Semiconductors Likely Drags Tech Indexes Lower

Credit Suisse released its March data on Semiconductor Industry results, which implied slightly worse seasonal results, though figures were already baked into the reported results of half the semiconductor constituents, and Q2’17 outlook. As such, we’re not saying this data provides nearly as much meaningful data on q/q comps for the remainder of the semiconductor stocks that have yet to report, but it at least gives us an idea on how the basket may perform for the remaining duration of earnings season.

Here were the key highlights from the report:

March monthly sales data is somewhat inconsequential. SIA reported Mar Rev of $33.5bn, an increase of 12.2% m/m, which was BELOW seasonal of up 14.1% m/m – this follows Feb which was 540 bps above seasonal and Jan which was 60 bps above seasonal. Mar Rev was driven by weaker than seasonal unit growth, which more than offset a stronger than seasonal increase in ASPs.

Semi Rev Tracking Up ~8% y/y: Excluding Memory, overall Semi Rev is tracking to ~$282bn, or up 8% y/y for the full year 2017 – a marked acceleration following 1.6% and 0.5% y/y growth in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

Overall, we’re maintain our optimistic stance going into the back half of fiscal year, where results are more heavily weighted due to seasonality. With the industry set to grow at high single digits, the semiconductor group may perform better.

That being the case memory/NAND storage seems to be the hot spot given recovery in NAND pricing leading into 1H’17

AMD reported below expectations on outlook, whereas Intel’s MPU trends are tracking worse than what investors were expecting. The verdict on Nvidia is somewhat subjective, but with weakness in channel commentary we think Nvidia reports below expectations. Storage seems to be a nascent growth category, but with limited insight on WDC, we’re favoring MU (Micron).

The bottom line: Semiconductors struggled this quarter. Expectations also worsened for Qualcomm given the withholding of Apple royalty payments.

The broad industry data was subjective at best, as the Semiconductor industry stalwarts: Qualcomm and Intel have dragged expectations lower. Momentum names like AMD and Nvidia likely trend lower through the summer months. Memory/storage: WDC, MU, and STX may perform better, but with the caveat that upside from better NAND pricing seems priced-in.

Overall, Semiconductor names will drag tech indexes lower coming out of earnings.

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