Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) investors got a reason to celebrate after Citi analysts raised their price target for the chip maker’s stock. However, the same can’t be said for rival QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), which got a downgrade from Stacy Rasgon of Bernstein. Rasgon cited a lack of confidence in Qualcomm’s long-term growth in the downgrade report. Also Wall Street estimates for the quarter appear to be too high.
Shaky long-term growth story for Qualcomm
The downgrade for Qualcomm comes amid reports of Apple replacing Qualcomm’s chips in some iPhone versions with Intel chips. With Qualcomm’s shares closer to his target, Rasgon lowered his rating to Market Perform from Outperform.
Rasgon does not have much confidence in Qualcomm’s long-term growth story and believes Wall Street’s September quarter estimates are too high because of unreal licensing expectations. The analyst notes that the consensus estimates might be including “catch-up” from new China deals, suggesting the licensing guidance could miss expectations if such deals are not signed.
“Qualcomm has had a good run off the bottom over the last few months, and is now in the ballpark of our target price. Given we believe near-term estimates likely need to come down further and a continued hesitancy to sign up for a long-term growth story, we are finding it harder to pitch the stock with conviction here,” Rasgon notes.
He expects the coming quarters to be volatile, considering the existence of long-term structural issues. The analyst maintained his price target of $55 on the stock as he had already expected it to reflect a “no growth” scenario with it not being in a secular decline but also never growing free cash flow again.
Qualcomm will report its third quarter earnings results on July 20. Analysts expect it to post earnings of 97 cents per share on revenue of $5.57 billion.
Intel PT raised
Meanwhile Citi’s Christopher Danely raised his price target on Intel from $31 to $35 while maintaining his Neutral rating on the stock. In a report, Danely noted a couple of positives for the chip maker: improved PC demand and iPhone 7 business from Apple.
Danely raised his 2016 and 2017 EPS estimates to $2.39 from $2.35 and to $2.52 and from $2.51, respectively, to reflect the iPhone win and better PC demand. However, the analyst noted that the upside is “temporary” and that Apple’s business had negative gross margins.
On Thursday, Intel shares closed up 2.72% at $32.80. Year to date, the stock is down more than 6%, while in the last year, it is up almost 6%. In pre-market trading today, Qualcomm shares were down more than 2%.