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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Triquint, Cypress, MagnaChip, SanDisk and Intersil

CHICAGO, Sept. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Triquint (Nasdaq:TQNT-Free Report), Cypress (Nasdaq:CY-Free Report), MagnaChip (NYSE:MX-Free Report), SanDisk (Nasdaq:SNDK-Free Report) and Intersil (Nasdaq:ISIL-Free Report).

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Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Try One of These Chips

The semiconductor sector may be worth examining due to signs of firming global growth and the backdrop of favorable expectations for electronic sales.   The U.S. manufacturing PMI has posted readings in the mid 50's over the past two months recovering from a recent low of 49.0 in May. At the same time, the August JP Morgan Global Composite Output Index rose 1.2 to 55.0, hitting a two and half year high and suggesting the growth picture is not limited to the U.S.

In order to narrow down the candidates for investment in the semiconductor sector, a handful of companies with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) were examined.  Three valuation measures were chosen to screen the companies for investment value.

Price to tangible book:  This valuation looks at the price relative to the theoretical breakup value of the company.  Because of the cyclical nature of earnings in the chip sector, the tangible book value of the company should gradually work higher over time if the company is successful in generating profits. Intangible assets, like goodwill, are taken out of the equation as they have little impact on breakup value.   Because of the cyclical nature of the chip sector, earnings can be negative or small at times which makes it more difficult to use a price to earnings ratio to analyze valuation.   Companies with low price to tangible book values are deemed as inexpensive or possessing value.

Price to sales: This measure uses the share price divided by sales per share to determine if a company is cheap or expensive.  The semiconductor sector is cyclical and as a result companies can swing from being unprofitable to profitable.   The price to sales ratio may be a stronger indicator of company valuation and potential profitability. A low price to sales figure is a sign of cheap valuation.

PEG ratio: The PEG ratio measures the price to earnings ratio relative to the growth rate of earnings per share.  Semiconductor shares can be fast or slow growing companies at times, so high PE ratios must be viewed in the context of the growth rate in earnings.   Looking at the PE ratio by itself may distort the valuation. A PEG ratio of 1.0 suggests that the price to earning s ratio is in line with the growth rate.  Values near or below 1.0 would been seen attractive. An investor would not be "over paying" for growth.

In order to provide a summary or conclusion, each stock was given a position number for each of the valuation measures.  A 1 indicates the most attractive valuation or lowest value in the table, while a 9 indicates the most expensive valuation or the highest value in the table.  The position numbers were averaged. The lowest average is in theory the most attractive stock, while the highest average would be the least desirable stock.  

Breaking out the results:

On the basis of the price to tangible book ratio, Triquint (Nasdaq:TQNT-Free Report) is the cheapest, while Cypress (Nasdaq:CY-Free Report) is most expensive.

Looking at the PEG ratio, MagnaChip (NYSE:MX-Free Report) is the most inexpensive.

MagnaChip and Triquint posted the lowest average values at 2.00 and 3.00 respectively. They appear most attractive based on the combination of valuation measures. MagnaChip is priced well below its expected growth rate and less than 1.0 times sales.  MagnaChip designs and manufactures analog and mixed signal semiconductor products with applications in the tablet, mobile phone, automotive, and power supply space, to name a few. Triquint makes chip products with applications in the defense/aerospace, networking, and mobile device industries.

SanDisk (Nasdaq:SNDK-Free Report) and Intersil (Nasdaq:ISIL-Free Report) were also on the cheap side. Their PEG ratios were near or below 1.0 and their price to sales ratios were below 2.50. SanDisk makes flash memory and storage devices, while Intersil is a designer and manufacturer of high performance analog semiconductors.  It has exposure to a broad range of telecom, broadcast, solar, energy, industrial, and auto industries.

Earnings trend:

When choosing a stock, earnings may be as important or more important than valuation.  Just looking at valuation can lead to a "value trap". In a value trap, a stock looks cheap based on measures of valuation, but is priced with a discount for a reason – there is a limited growth outlook.

There has not been great movement in earnings estimates in the chip sector – see the table.  Monolithic Power has actually shown the greatest upward revision to 2013 and 2014 earnings per share estimates.  Its valuation was toward the poor side of the group, and it appears the market is pricing strong growth.  Notice that EPS estimates have been increased $.07 to $0.62 this year and $.08 to $.90 next year.  It is forecast to post a vibrant 45% increase in earnings growth, but is priced at 5.41 times sales.

MagnaChip saw its 2013 EPS estimate cut by $.01 for 2013, but the 2014 EPS forecast was raised $.06 to $3.00.  It is expected to post a 20% growth rate.  The upward revision to 2014 should offset the downward revision to 2013.

It should be noted that there were no other changes to estimates over the past 30 days and Cyprus is expected to post the quickest change in EPS growth from 2013 to 2014 at 189%.  Notice the relatively high PEG ratio.

Concluding thoughts:

The combination of inexpensive valuation and earnings revisions suggests that MagnaChip may provide an attractive investment opportunity.  It wins the award for the best pick in the small universe examined. It has the combination of the cheapest valuation and upward revision to earnings estimates.

Triquint, SanDisk, and Intersil would be the next picks based on valuation and their Zacks Rank of #1 or #2.

With signs of stronger economic growth, a healthy backlog of electronic orders, and building order books in the chip sector, it may be worth trying MagnaChip in your portfolio.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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