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These 25 semiconductor stocks could rise as much as 43% with chips in short supply

Just about every investor is aware that a shortage of semiconductors and related equipment, including microprocessors and chips, are in short supply while demand is high. And yet the stocks of this critical group trade relatively low to the broader stock market.

Below is a list of favorite semiconductor stocks among Wall Street analysts, based on a deep dive into the holdings of five exchange traded funds focused on the industry.

The chip shortage isn’t the whole story — innovation and new business have lit fires under some of the best-known semiconductor companies. Shares of Nvidia Corp.
NVDA
were up 49% from the end of September through Nov. 8, while Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
AMD
was up 46%.

These articles help explain the big moves:

Nvidia seeks to lead gold rush into the metaverse with new AI tools

AMD stock notches best day in 15 months after company wins Facebook business

Industry appears cheaply valued

The PHLX Semiconductor Index
SOX
is considered the benchmark index for chip makers and companies that make equipment and systems used by them. It is tracked by the iShares Semiconductor ETF
SOXX,
which holds all 30 stocks in the index and is weighted by market capitalization.

This means Nvidia is the top holding, making up 9.7% of the portfolio, and the top five investments, which also include Broadcom Inc.
AVGO,
Intel Corp.
INTC,
Qualcomm Inc.
QCOM
and Texas Instruments Inc.
TXN,
account for 35.3% of the ETF’s assets. The sixth-ranked company, AMD, is 4.5% of the portfolio.

SOXX trades at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 20.9, based on consensus estimates among analysts polled by FactSet, while the forward P/E for the S&P 500 Index
SPX
is 21.7. It’s not unusual for the semiconductors to trade at a discount. However, it is unusual for there to be a broad shortage of the industry’s products.

Here’s how SOXX has traded relative to the S&P 500 over the past 10 years:

FactSet

Underlining the discount for the semiconductor group is the expectation that the group will increase its sales and earnings much more quickly over the next two years.

Here are expected compound annual growth rates (CAGR) for sales and earnings per share through 2023, based on weighted consensus estimates among analysts polled by FactSet:

Estimated sales per share

2021

2022

2023

Expected two-year sales CAGR

iShares Semiconductor ETF

$77.72

$85.64

$94.61

10.3%

S&P 500

$1,551.55

$1,654.79

$1,737.05

5.8%

2021

2022

2023

Expected two-year EPS CAGR

iShares Semiconductor ETF

$22.17

$23.97

$35.59

26.7%

S&P 500

$202.49

$219.39

$239.03

8.6%

ETF deep dive

To look beyond the SOXX 30, we reviewed five ETFs that follow different approaches, to come up with a broader initial list of stocks:

SOXX is the largest, with $8.9 billion in total assets, and is cap-weighted, as described above. It holds the 30 largest U.S.-listed companies in the industry, including American depositary receipts (ADRs) of foreign companies, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
TSM,
which are capped at 10% of the portfolio. Its annual expenses are 0.43% of assets under management.

The VanEck Semiconductor ETF
SMH
has $6.9 billion in assets, with a cap-weighted portfolio of 25 stocks, selected though a scoring methodology that includes market cap and trading volume. It is even more concentrated than SOXX, with its top five holdings making up 44.4% of the portfolio, but its different weighting scheme means Taiwan Semiconductor is the top holding, at 14.5%. Its expense ratio is 0.35%.

The SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF
XSD
has $1.4 billion in assets, with a modified equal weighting of 40 stocks that “tilts its portfolio away from large, well-known companies and toward smaller growth ones,” according to FactSet. Its expense ratio is 0.35%.

The Invesco Dynamic Semiconductors ETF
PSI
also leans toward smaller companies, with a modified equal-weighted $860 million portfolio of 30 stocks, reconstituted quarterly. Its expense ratio is 0.56%.

The First Trust Nasdaq Semiconductor ETF
FTXL
has $95 million in assets and holds 30 of the most liquid semiconductor stocks listed in the U.S., “weighted according to factors related to value, volatility and growth,” according to FactSet. Its largest holding is Synaptics Inc.
SYNA,
which makes up 8.3% of the portfolio. Its expense ratio is 0.60%.

Together, removing duplicates, the five ETFs hold 65 stocks, with 62 covered by at least five analysts covered by FactSet.

Among the 62 companies, 25 have “buy” or equivalent ratings among at least 75% of the analysts. Only 10 of them are held by SOXX and only three (including Nvidia) are held by all five ETFs. Here they are, ranked by the implied 12-month upside, based on consensus price targets:

Company

Share “buy” ratings

Closing price – Nov. 8

Consensus price target

Implied 12-month upside potential

Forward P/E

Held by

Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc.
KLIC

80%

$58.15

$83.00

43%

8.8

PSI

MKS Instruments Inc.
MKSI

82%

$158.84

$213.20

34%

13.3

SOXX, PSI

Cirrus Logic Inc.
CRUS

77%

$79.61

$106.36

34%

14.3

XSD, FTXL

Micron Technology Inc.
MU

77%

$74.56

$95.33

28%

8.7

SOXX, SMH, XSD, FTXL

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. ADR
TSM

90%

$120.91

$153.01

27%

26.0

SOXX, SMH

Smart Global Holdings Inc.
SGH

100%

$58.24

$72.00

24%

9.1

XSD

United Microelectronics Corp. ADR
UMC

81%

$11.18

$13.82

24%

12.4

SOXX

Ultra Clean Holdings Inc.
UCTT

100%

$59.21

$72.58

23%

12.6

PSI

Allegro MicroSystems Inc.
ALGM

100%

$32.68

$40.00

22%

39.4

XSD, PSI

Onto Innovation Inc.
ONTO

100%

$90.50

$105.00

16%

20.1

PSI

SiTime Corp.
SITM

100%

$291.34

$328.20

13%

79.4

XSD

Axcelis Technologies Inc.
ACLS

100%

$61.85

$68.50

11%

17.5

PSI

ASML Holding N.V. ADR
ASML

77%

$849.93

$935.00

10%

44.6

SOXX, SMH

Diodes Inc.
DIOD

75%

$107.73

$117.67

9%

19.0

XSD, PSI

Teradyne Inc.
TER

84%

$143.89

$153.24

6%

22.8

SOXX, SMH, FTXL

Camtek Ltd.
CAMT

100%

$44.25

$46.60

5%

26.3

PSI

Analog Devices Inc.
ADI

79%

$184.46

$193.71

5%

26.0

SOXX, SMH, XSD, PSI, FTXL

Nova Ltd.
NVMI

100%

$128.77

$135.00

5%

30.3

PSI

Marvell Technology Inc.
MRVL

80%

$73.00

$75.12

3%

43.2

SOXX SMH, XSD, FTXL

Broadcom Inc.
AVGO

84%

$558.95

$567.26

1%

18.3

SOXX, SMH, XSD, PSI, FTXL

Synopsys Inc.
SNPS

88%

$342.91

$341.14

-1%

46.8

SMH

Semtech Corp.
SMTC

91%

$90.52

$88.30

-2%

32.4

XSD

MaxLinear Inc.
MXL

75%

$68.32

$66.60

-3%

21.4

XSD, PSI

Impinj Inc.
PI

100%

$76.04

$73.57

-3%

991.4

XSD

Nvidia Corp.
NVDA

81%

$308.04

$243.44

-21%

71.6

SOXX, SMH, XSD, PSI, FTXL

Source: FactSet

A screen can only be the beginning of your research, if you wish to hold individual stocks rather than make broad investments using ETFs or mutual funds. Click on the tickers for more about each company. Click here for Tomi Kilgore’s detailed guide to the wealth of information for free on the MarketWatch quote page.

As you can see on the table, some of the stocks, despite being so well-regarded, have gotten ahead of their one-year price targets. Nvidia is a good example. Why do so many analysts rate it a buy, despite believing the stock is overheated? Because they are looking at years beyond a 12-month target.

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