Wells Fargo Favors KLA, ASML In Semiconductor Capital Equipment; Expects Another Tough Earnings Cycle Before Bottom

  • Investor discussions and meetings over the past few weeks left Wells Fargo to consider sentiment as nearing the point of 'Bad is Good,' 'Worse is Better,' with investors looking for confirmation of a down WFE year in C2023 and a sell-side estimate reset.
  • Analyst Joseph Quatrochi maintained KLA Corp KLAC with an Overweight and cut the price target from $420 to $360.
  • Quatrochi maintained ASML Holding N.V. ASML with an Overweight rating and slashed the price target from $600 to $510.
  • He views the buyside WFE at ~$75 billion (before export restrictions; versus ~$80 billion in early September). 
  • However, Quatrochi expects semi-cap companies to likely wait until January to provide quantitative 2023 WFE guidance (similar to prior years). 
  • It sets up for a particularly challenging 3Q22 semi-cap earnings cycle. 
  • The analyst views backlog and order commentary as a critical driver of semi-cap stocks. 
  • While he thinks an increasing point of debate, he continues to view those most exposed to leading-edge foundry and logic as most defensible in his coverage universe.
  • Quatrochi reiterated KLAC and ASML as top picks. 
  • Price Action: KLAC shares traded lower by 5.27% at $297.59 on the last check Monday.
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