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2 Up, 2 Down: Goldman Adjusts Semiconductor Stock Ratings

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2 Up, 2 Down: Goldman Adjusts Semiconductor Stock Ratings

The incredible run in semiconductor stocks has continued in 2017, with the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (NYSE: SMH) once again more than doubling the overall return of the S&P 500. On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs’ research team took inventory of where top semiconductor stocks stand after another hot year.

Industry Remains Strong

Goldman analyst Toshiya Hari raised the firm’s 2017 global semiconductor capex projection from +16 percent growth to +27 percent growth and said the semiconductor space remains attractive as a whole.

“By segment, we now forecast better-than-feared trends for DRAM (higher gross wafer capacity additions) and NAND (continued transition to 3D by all players) into 2018, while expectations for foundry are now more muted,” Hari wrote.

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Upgrades

Goldman also issued several upgrades and downgrades of individual stocks. Despite Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT)’s impressive 40 percent gain so far in 2017, Goldman has upgraded the stock from Neutral to Buy and raised its price target to $52. Hari believes the company will top consensus 2018 EPS forecasts by 9 percent.

Goldman also upgraded Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) from Neutral to Buy and raised its price target to $40. Analyst Mark Delaney said Micron offers earnings upside and is also trading at a discounted earnings multiple. “While we believe it could be the mid- to later stages of the memory upturn and note memory fundamentals can change quickly, our industry discussions suggest 4QCY17 DRAM pricing could rise (with NAND flat to up) and the DRAM cycle could remain tight in 2018,” Delaney wrote.

Downgrades

Despite the overall strength in the space, Goldman is less bullish on certain stocks. Goldman downgraded KLA-Tencor Corp (NASDAQ: KLAC) from Buy to Neutral and lowered its price target to $97. Hari said he expects KLA-Tencor to deliver in-line earnings in 2018 and its share price already accurately reflects its growth potential.

Goldman also downgraded on Semiconductor Corp (NASDAQ: ON) from Buy to Neutral but maintains its $18 price target. With the stock already up more than 32 percent since January, Delaney said it has simply run out of positive catalysts for the time being.

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