Is Qualcomm a Solid Portfolio Play?

With shares of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) trading around $72, is QCOM an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Qualcomm is engaged in the design and manufacturing of digital communications products and services. The company operates in four segments: Qualcomm CDMA technologies, Qualcomm technology licensing, Qualcomm wireless and Internet, and Qualcomm strategic initiatives. It develops and supplies integrated circuits and system software based on CDMA, OFDMA, and other technologies for uses in voice and data communications, networking, application processing, multimedia, and global positioning system products.

The Chinese government is holding onto substantial evidence that Qualcomm has been engaging in price fixing in the country, Reuters reports. According to comments attributed to the head of the National Development and Reform Commission, the Chinese department that deals with practices such as price fixing, there exists real evidence that the chip manufacturer has been engaging in illegal behavior. As of yet, both the Chinese government and Qualcomm have declined to formally comment on the issue.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart Are Strong

Qualcomm stock has been trending higher over the last few quarters. The stock has been trading sideways and may need time to stabilize before heading higher. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, Qualcomm is trading above its rising key averages, which signal neutral to bullish price action in the near-term.

QCOM

(Source: Thinkorswim)

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of Qualcomm options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

Qualcomm options

21.31%

86%

83%

What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a very significant amount of call and put options contracts as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

January Options

Flat

Average

February Options

Flat

Average

As of today, there is an average demand from call buyers or sellers and low demand by put buyers or high demand by put sellers, all neutral to bullish over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a very significant amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral to bullish over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter-Over-Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on Qualcomm’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for Qualcomm look like and more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q3

2013 Q2

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)

18.63%

30.43%

-17.19%

34.57%

Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)

33.08%

34.95%

23.89%

28.56%

Earnings Reaction

-3.79%

3.30%

-5.39%

3.91%

Qualcomm has seen increasing earnings and revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these numbers, the markets have had conflicting feelings about Qualcomm’s recent earnings announcements.

P = Average Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has Qualcomm stock done relative to its peers, Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN), and sector?

Qualcomm

Broadcom

Nokia

Texas Instruments

Sector

Year-to-Date Return

21.41%

-10.70%

93.59%

37.50%

17.07%

Qualcomm has been an average relative performer, year-to-date.

Conclusion

Qualcomm provides digital communications products to a variety of consumers and companies worldwide. The Chinese government is holding onto substantial evidence that Qualcomm has been engaging in price fixing in the country. The stock has been rising higher in recent years, but is now trading sideways. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenues have been increasing. However, investors have had conflicting feelings about recent earnings announcements. Relative to its peers and sector, Qualcomm has been an average year-to-date performer. Look for Qualcomm to OUTPERFORM.

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