October Stock Picks: 7 Chip Stocks to Buy on Dips

Stocks to buy

Technology stocks have been battered and bruised in 2022, with the Nasdaq down 32% year to date. As bad as that is, semiconductor stocks have easily outpaced the downturn in the broader tech sector, with the PHLX Semiconductor Index falling 44% so far this year. However, unlike some high-flying tech stocks that had no basis for their lofty valuations, the companies that make semiconductor chips and equipment are vital to the economy. Their products are the basis of the world as we know it. Of course, that’s not to say their share prices can’t go lower from here. With this in mind, today I have seven chip stocks to buy on dips.

The short-term outlook for semiconductor stocks remains challenging, with companies facing demand issues, as well as higher costs. Yet, a few recent developments bode well for the sector longer term.

The first is the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which “provides $52.7 billion for American semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, and workforce development.” The bill has already spurred some major semiconductor companies to announce plans to expand manufacturing in the U.S.

More recently, the Biden administration announced export controls that will greatly impede the ability of Chinese tech firms to buy semiconductor-making equipment, technology and software from American vendors. Chinese officials have complained this will quash the chip industry there, stifling China’s ability to innovate in areas such as autonomous vehicles and genetic sequencing. However, China’s loss could be America’s gain.

These seven chip stocks to buy are particularly well-positioned given the renewed focus on the domestic semiconductor industry.

TXN Texas Instruments $151.51
LRCX Lam Research $322.06
AMAT Applied Materials $75.23
QCOM Qualcomm $111.21
CAMT Camtek $21.96
INTC Intel $25.87
MU Micron Technology $52.55

Texas Instruments (TXN)

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Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) is your classic sleep-well-at-night chip stock. The firm is incredibly resilient due to its differentiated business model. Instead of chasing fast-moving semiconductor markets like chips for consumer electronics, Texas Instruments has built its business around slower-moving analog semiconductors.

These are chips that process real-world information and turn it into data. They are vital for applications such as autonomous driving, remote monitoring and internet of things devices. Texas Instruments has a catalog of around 80,000 products, which covers tons of application-specific niches. Because of this, the firm has created a business that is recession-resistant and not particularly tied to any specific product or technology trend.

Texas Instruments is also a shareholder-friendly operation. Management prioritizes growing free cash flow per share above all else. This has allowed the company to give tons of cash back to shareholders via its dividend and sizable share repurchase program.

TXN stock currently trades for less than 17 times forward earnings and offers a solid 3.3% dividend yield.

Lam Research (LRCX)

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Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) is a semiconductor equipment maker that currently commands about 10% of the market. The stock performed well over the long term as the company capitalized on the rapid growth of the global semiconductor market.

Shares are down sharply over the past month, thanks in large part to the new China export restrictions. A significant portion of Lam’s overall revenue comes from China. Thus, Lam may face a short-term hit from the Biden administration’s new policy.

Over the longer term, though, Lam could benefit from these changes. After all, demand for semiconductors is unlikely to fall given current technological trends. Lam can earn similar profits selling to vendors in China as ones based out of Europe or North America. Meanwhile, efforts to slow China’s semiconductor industry growth should, over time, create a bigger moat for Lam’s own products and intellectual property.

Following a 55% year-to-date decline in LRCX stock, shares now trade for just 8.6 times forward earnings.

Applied Materials (AMAT)

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Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) is a direct rival to Lam Research and, thus, faces many of the same challenges and opportunities. This summer, AMAT stock sold off on worries about a cyclical downturn in chip demand and competition from China undercutting Applied Materials’ prices. The CHIPS and Science Act seemed like a clear positive for American semiconductor companies like Applied Materials, but some analysts feared it would be too little, too late in terms of stemming the competitive tide from cheaper overseas vendors.

Now that the Biden administration has upped the ante with far-stricter export restrictions, this should greatly slow competition from China. Ironically enough, AMAT stock sold off on the news as investors worried about the short-term revenue hit from not selling to Chinese firms. However, over the longer term, the renewed focus on American manufacturing in this industry is a positive for the company.

Investors’ reaction illustrates a larger issue in the chips sector right now. Lately, it seems all news is bad news for chips stocks. Competition from overseas? That’s bad. Government efforts to slow down that competition? Apparently also bad. It’s as if traders are using any excuse to sell chips stocks. When the tide turns, however, there will be a tremendous revaluing of core semiconductor names such as Applied Materials.

After dropping by 52% this year, AMAT stock is now selling for just 10.2 times forward earnings.

Qualcomm (QCOM)

Source: Xixi Fu / Shutterstock.com

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has built its business around mobile communications ecosystems. The company is a leader in the design and intellectual property around 3G and 4G and has earned hefty licensing fees from handset makers for its technology.

Qualcomm continues to bring in tons of revenue from its work in these areas, and the company has defended its patents in court to ensure that the money keeps coming in. However, the company isn’t resting on its laurels.

Qualcomm is at the center of 5G rollouts. It’s developed its own chips like Snapdragon for high-end applications such as newer Android phones. The firm is also broadening its reach beyond smartphones, with moves into connected cars and the internet of things.

With shares down 40% year to date, QCOM stock is selling for 8.6 times forward earnings. That will look like a bargain once the current sector slump starts to let up.

Camtek (CAMT)

Source: Pavel Kapysh via shutterstock

Camtek (NASDAQ:CAMT) is an Israeli company with a global footprint that offers high-end inspection and metrology equipment to the semiconductor industry. When semiconductor companies are building or expanding fabrication facilities, they need to ensure that everything is in perfect working order. Even the tiniest defect or a poorly calibrated machine can render expensive semiconductor materials worthless. With the shortages in the semiconductor supply chain, avoiding waste has become more important than ever.

This has put Camtek in a great position. The company has grown revenue from $93 million in 2017 to an estimated $322 million in 2022. Meanwhile, shares are up 284% over the past five years, and that includes the 52% drop in 2022.

Camtek is well-positioned in the coming years. The CHIPS Act will subsidize a lot of new semiconductor fabs in the United States. These new facilities will need testing and inspection equipment, and Camtek should be able to find a leading role in filling that demand.

Intel (INTC)

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Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) stock has lost half of its value so far this year. That’s an incredible decline for such a dominant blue-chip company.

After a surge in personal computer sales during the pandemic, demand has now collapsed. Research firm Gartner reported a 19.5% decline in PC sales in Q3 versus the same period in 2021. This was the worst drop in two decades.

Intel is still reliant on personal computing, along with the server and database market, to generate a large portion of its revenue. So the company’s profits, not surprisingly, are declining.

However, the long-term outlook remains bright. Intel spends more than $15 billion annually on research and development, which allows it to remain in a leadership position in its core markets. It also invests heavily in growth initiatives, such as self-driving vehicle technology.

After this year’s big decline in shares, INTC stock trades for 9.2 times forward earnings and offers a 5.5% dividend yield.

Micron Technology (MU)

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Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) rounds out this list of chip socks to buy. A year ago, the company appeared to have turned the corner. The memory chip leader was producing tremendous earnings and appeared to have finally overcome the historical boom/bust cycle in the memory and storage industry.

Fast forward a year, however, and things are currently looking grim. Micron is fresh off earning $8.35 per share for its fiscal 2022, which ended Sept. 1. That is a tremendous level of profitability for a company with a $53 share price. But those earnings aren’t set to last. Analysts are currently forecasting a stunning 96.5% drop in Micron’s current fiscal year earnings to just 29 cents per share. Partially as a result of this dismal outlook, shares are down 44% year to date.

However, things aren’t as bad as they might seem. Many of the weaker players in the memory industry are merging with stronger companies or shutting down operations. The growth of consumer electronics, as an industry, has created more stable longer-term demand. Micron is going to have a rough 2023, no doubt, but analysts see earnings jumping back to $3.88 a share for fiscal 2024.

That should be enough to get Micron shares trending in the right direction, especially since it is one of the more prominent beneficiaries of the CHIPS Act.

On the date of publication, Ian Bezek held a long position in QCOM, TXN and INTC stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Ian Bezek has written more than 1,000 articles for InvestorPlace.com and Seeking Alpha. He also worked as a Junior Analyst for Kerrisdale Capital, a $300 million New York City-based hedge fund. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.

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