Chip Stocks Reflect Economic Outlook

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) project plans and shipment numbers are of more and more importance to those investing in NAND flash memory manufacturers, including SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK) and Micron (NASDAQ:MU). Bernstein proposes that Apple made up an impressive 23 percent of worldwide NAND consumption in Q4. That number is expected to climb higher as iPhone, MacBook Air and iPad purchases continue to grow.

Sterne Agee has lowered Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) shares from Buy to Neutral, saying that the coming two years could include obstructions in its essential PC market as manufacturers utilize more of competitor ARM’s (NASDAQ:ARMH) chips. Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), according to Sterne, offers a more impressive set of circumstances in the field, better situated to benefit from Smartphone growth and incremental PC TAM with Win8 PC.

Multiple chipmakers are looking to CES to provide a public relations uplift, as reported by UBS’ Uche Orji. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) ¬†anticipates this will promote the popularity of MacBook Air-like ultrabooks thanks to run on its next-generation Ivy Bridge chips. Likewise, mobile app processor suppliers Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) hope for a boost to their tablet goals, which have been to date thwarted by iPad dominance.

RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ:RFMD) is experiencing new 52-week lows after Thursday’s FQ3 forewarning, and (thanks to the company laying the blame on 2G Chinese orders) has prompted a devastation in Spreadtrum (NASDAQ:SPRD) in its wake. D.A. Davidson and Oppenheimer are lowering RF Micro as a result, with the former asserting that RF Micro’s unimpressive market guidance points to expanding 2G competition and price pressure.

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