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Analyst Downgrades Qualcomm: 'Share Appreciation Hinges On Licensing Resolutions'

Analyst Downgrades Qualcomm: 'Share Appreciation Hinges On Licensing Resolutions'
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QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) is facing multiple headwinds, according to an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The Analysts

Tal Liani downgraded Qualcomm from Buy to Neutral and reduced his price target from $75 to $70.

The Thesis

Qualcomm's management has used up most opportunities for P&L restructuring, Liani said in a note. Even after this, earnings upside alone can't lead to share price appreciation, and the company has to resolve its ongoing licensing disputes with Huawei and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), he added.

The catch here is the timing of the dispute redressal is uncertain.

Liani said Qualcomm could also be constrained by softening smartphone demand, and accordingly lowered his estimates.

The analyst thinks the company's FY19 EPS guidance of $5.25 doesn't seem achievable. Liani's revised EPS estimate of $4.21 is 6 percent below the consensus.

Additionally, BofA doesn't see 5G as a major driver in the foreseeable future, as meaningful device shipments could commence only in 12-18 months. That said, the firm sees near-term support emerging from the company's $16 billion accelerated share repurchase program.

"Share price support is a positive in the near term, but also a negative factor, as past experience indicates that associated stability can reverse after buyback programs end," Liani said.

Price Action

At time of writing, Qualcomm shares traded around $63.37.

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Photo courtesy of Qualcomm.

Latest Ratings for QCOM

Jan 2019Evercore ISI GroupReinstatesIn-LineIn-Line
Nov 2018Morgan StanleyUpgradesUnderweightEqual-Weight
Nov 2018UBSMaintainsNeutralNeutral

View More Analyst Ratings for QCOM
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Bank of America Merrill Lynch Tal LianiAnalyst Color Downgrades Price Target Analyst Ratings Best of Benzinga


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