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Qualcomm Gets a Boost from Analysts, but is it Time to Buy?

Qualcomm Gets a Boost from Analysts, but is it Time to Buy?

Shares of Qualcomm Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) continue to push higher the day after the company received a bullish upgrade from Barclays. An upgrade like that so close to the company’s quarterly earnings report due on February 1 is a bullish sign for a stock that many investors have had on their radar in recent months. 

The rating also suggests that the rally in QCOM stock, which is now over 8% for the week in mid-morning trading on January 24, is about more than a revival of the risk-on trade in technology stocks. But does the rally have enough legs to make this a buying opportunity?  

What Did the Analysts Say? 

On January 23, Barclays upgraded Qualcomm from Equal Weight to Overweight. An Overweight rating means that the analyst believes Qualcomm will likely outperform the broader market. One reason for the upgrade is an expectation for growth as China reopens. Among semiconductor companies, Qualcomm is heavily reliant on the consumer business.  

Additionally, the firm gave QCOM stock a price target of $150 up from its prior guidance of $120. That puts Barclays estimate about 15% lower than the consensus estimate of analysts tracked by MarketBeat. However, it still suggests a nearly 20% increase from the stock’s current price.  

And Qualcomm was not the only chip company to receive an upgrade from Barclays. The firm also boosted Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) to Overweight on expected demand for its data center chips. The firm also maintained its Overweight rating on NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA), which bucks the expectation for a gloomy near-term outlook. Part of the reason for that is expected growth with their artificial intelligence (AI) customers.  

Each of these stocks is up more than 20% in this month, outpacing the broader sector, which is up over 11%. 

Is it Time to Buy QCOM Stock? 

Despite the recent rally, Qualcomm still appears to be undervalued among semiconductor stocks. QCOM stock is still down 22% in the last 12 months. The stock is also well off its all-time high of over $180 per share, reached just over a year ago.  

The stock is trading at a P/E ratio of around 11x earnings. That’s below the sector average of around 17x earnings. And it’s well below the lofty valuations of AMD (44x earnings) and NVDA (81x earnings). 

And Qualcomm also pays a sustainable dividend. At the same time, the yield of around 2.27% is not particularly impressive. The annual payout is $3 per share, and the company has been increasing its dividend for the last 20 years.  

The market remains volatile, and investors should proceed with caution with a slew of earnings reports coming in from tech companies in the next two weeks.  

That doesn’t mean you should be thinking about selling. But you should be prepared for volatility. Although they provide some forward guidance, earnings reports are backward-looking. Analyst reports are projections for future growth. The gap between past and future performance can be wide in a cyclical sector like semiconductors. And sentiment can change quickly.  

If you have a long position, this is a time to work your plan to dollar-cost average and look for opportunities to get in on QCOM at the best price.

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