A Rare Opportunity in Chip Stocks
April 15, 2018
I have been investing in the semiconductor space for years, and it’s almost always feast or famine – serious highs or portfolio-crushing lows. Stocks in this industry can be very volatile, and we’ve seen this play out first hand recently.
Semiconductors had been on fire through the early part of this year but last month two specific events started weighing on the sector. Let me explain each, although the good news is that I think they’re both more noise than real issues.
The first is what I call the Facebook (FB) Effect. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Nearly the entire technology sector came under pressure after news of the data breach surfaced, and semiconductors were hit particularly hard. Things are finally starting to turn around, though, and in the end the scandal created a chance to buy chip names on the cheap.
Then there are the China tariffs. Many analysts say that the semiconductors will perhaps be the biggest losers of enhanced confrontation and higher tariffs, but I’m not so sure that’s the case. Chips are shipped to China as part of the supply chain but the finished goods end up in other nations. Either way, China is betting big on technology and I can’t imagine the powers that be want to upset their own momentum.
The Best Buys
Even with the historic volatility in this space, I don’t think there has ever been this kind of opportunity from so many budding technologies that need chips to meet growth. And that means this weakness is a chance to buy some great American companies for a steal.
One of my favorites is NVDIA (NVDA), which makes chips for a variety of applications, most notably for video and gaming. There is a lot of upside here, but it’s worth noting this is probably one of the more volatile semiconductors. It’s also a target of persistent short attacks.
Keeping that kind of risk in mind, I think Lam Research (LRCX), a manufacturer of semiconductor processing equipment, is an even better investment for those folks who are averse to very wild swings.
The best value right now is in Micron Technology (MU), and I also like Applied Materials (AMAT) and Broadcom (AVGO), although I wouldn’t add to those last at the moment. If you own them, hold them.
The most important thing to keep in mind here is that there a huge buying opportunity in the chips stocks right now, but you have to be willing to take on some added risk. Semiconductors are known to be volatile, and greater broad market gyrations could create even wilder swings than normal. A lot of investors will be shaken out, but for those willing to withstand the ups and downs, I continue to view them as buying opportunities on the cusp of amazing growth.