Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now

NEW YORK — When Steve Jobs succumbed to his long fight with cancer two years ago, the technology industry and the wider business world first memorialized him and then, almost immediately, began the great quest for his successor as tech world avatar.

Jobs’ highest profile contemporaries — Bill Gates and Larry Ellison — were still around, but with Gates in managerial retirement and Ellison most interested in playing with wildly expensive boats, neither was in a position to claim the mantle.

Not that either was ever a particularly good candidate to do so — only Jobs, and Jobs alone, had managed since the early days of his career to give the work of the Valley that sheen of cool and sexy which had once been the sole province of Hollywood. (It was no accident that Jobs became Hollywood’s biggest partner in the Valley, through not one but two companies: Pixar and Apple.) So the search quickly dispensed with them and began hunting for better candidates.

Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: Applied Materials Inc.(AMAT)

Applied Materials, Inc. provides manufacturing equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display, solar photovoltaic (PV), and related industries worldwide. The company?s Silicon Systems Group segment offers a range of manufacturing equipment used to fabricate semiconductor chips or integrated circuits. This segment provides systems that perform primary processes used in chip fabrication, including atomic layer deposition, chemical vapor deposition, physical vapor deposition, electrochemical deposition, rapid thermal processing, chemical mechanical planarization, wet cleaning, and wafer metrology and inspection, as well as systems that etch or inspect circuit patterns on masks used in the photolithography process. Its Applied Global Services segment offers products and services designed to enhance the performance and productivity, and reduce the environmental impact of the fab operations of semiconductor, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and solar P V manufacturers. The company?s Display segment provides products for manufacturing thin film transistor LCDs for televisions, personal computers (PCs), tablet PCs, smartphones, and other consumer-oriented electronic applications. Its Energy and Environmental Solutions segment offers manufacturing systems for the generation and conservation of energy, as well as manufacturing solutions for wafer-based crystalline silicon applications. This segment also provides roll-to-roll vacuum Web coating systems for deposition of a range of films on flexible substrates for functional, aesthetic, or optical properties; and roll-to-roll machine for depositing ultra-thin aluminum films for flexible packaging applications. The company serves manufacturers of semiconductor wafers and chips, flat panel LCDs, solar PV cells and modules, and other electronic devices. Applied Materials, Inc. was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Vanina Egea] ican corporation, based in Santa Clara, Calif., in the famous Silicon Valley. It provides chipmakers with the latest equipment, and tools to make state-of-the-art chips for our everyday mobile devices (processors, flash memories, computers memories, etc.) and to improve semiconductor factory efficiency. It also produces equipment for the manufacturing of flat panel displays and solar energy (solar cells and energy efficient glass) equipment.

    It has four divisions. Silicon Systems Group, handles the designs, manufacturing, and sales of equipment used to fabricate semiconductor chips. Applied Global Services maintains, services and optimizes customers’ display, semiconductors and solar fabs. The Displays division designs, manufactures and sells equipment used in flat panel display fabrication. And finally, Energy and Environmental Solutions designs, manufactures and handles the sales on equipment necessary in the fabrication of solar cells, modules and flexible electronics.

    The company provides the manufacturers it sells its equipment to with services to improve the fabrication process, helping them become more efficient.

    Advantages and Moat on AMAT

    The thing is, Applied Materials doesn’t specialize in one sector or portion of the production line like most its competitors do. The company has everything a chipmaker needs to fabricate a chip from scratch, like a Home Depot (HD) for chipmakers, competing in nearly every segment of the market. And as the chip industry continues to grow, the company continuously develops more and more complex equipment to meet the needs of a still flourishing market.

    Applied Materials should start to benefit from the adoption of new mobile devices. In the words of the company’s new CEO, Gary Dickerson (former president of Varian, a well-known chip equipment company acquired by Applied on 2012), tablets and smartphones nowadays generate more revenue than all the other semiconductors’ electronics combine

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Big Earnings Movers: Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is up 8.7% at $54.94. Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) is down 0.3% at $17.51 on a weak forecast. Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) is down 1% at $62.81. Youku Tudou Inc. (NYSE: YOKU) is up 11.2% at $29.30. InterCloud Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ICLD) is up 265.9% at $9.33 on solid results and higher hopes.

Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: AT & S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG (AUS)

AT & S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG (AT&S) is an Austria-based company that is principally engaged in the production of printed circuit boards. The Company is divided into three core business units: Mobile Devices; Automotive, and Industrial. The Company’s product assortment ranges from single- and double-sided printed circuit boards to multilayer printed circuit boards. They are used as electromechanical linking elements, mainly in the telecommunication sector, automobile industry and medical technology applications, as well as defense and aerospace. AT&S operates production sites in Austria, India, China and Korea. It also maintains international sales offices, based in Austria, Ireland, Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary and Belgium. As of March 31, 2011, the Company operated through its subsidiaries in India, Germany, Austria, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Triska Hamid]

    Professors at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) are also looking at dental care with braces imbedded with a chip that monitor the movement of the fixtures and will communicate with the dentist’s office if any of them are separated from the teeth.

Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: Universal Display Corp (OLED)

Universal Display Corporation, incorporated on April, 24, 1985, is engaged in the research, development and commercialization of organic light emitting diode (OLED) technologies and materials for use in flat panel display, solid state lighting and other product applications. The Company’s primary business strategy is to develop and license its OLED technologies to product manufacturers for use in these applications. Its primary business is to develop and license its OLED technologies to manufacturers of products for display applications, such as cell phones, portable media devices, tablets, laptop computers and televisions, and specialty and general lighting products; and develop new OLED materials and sell the materials to those product manufacturers. The Company sells its OLED materials to customers for evaluation and use in commercial OLED products. As of December 31, 2012, the Company owns, exclusively license or have the sole right to sublicense more than 3,000 pate nts issued and pending worldwide. On July 23, 2012, the Company entered into a Patent Sale Agreement (the Agreement) with FUJIFILM. Under the Agreement, FUJIFILM sold more than 1,200 OLED related patents and patent applications.

Phosphorescent Organic Light Emitting Diode Technologies

Phosphorescent OLEDs utilize specialized materials and device structures that allow OLEDs to emit light through a process known as phosphorescence. Traditional fluorescent OLEDs emit light through an inherently less efficient process. Theory and experiment show that phosphorescent OLEDs exhibit device efficiencies up to four times higher than those exhibited by fluorescent OLEDs. Phosphorescence substantially reduces the power requirements of an OLED and is potentially useful in displays for hand-held devices, such as Smartphone’s, where battery power is often a limiting factor. Phosphorescence is also important for area displays such as televisions, where higher de vice efficiency and lower heat generation may enable longer ! product lifetimes and increased energy efficiency.

Additional Proprietary Organic Light Emitting Diode Technologies

Additional OLED Technologies include FOLED Flexible OLEDs, Thin-Film Encapsulation, UniversalP2OLED Printable Phosphorescent OLEDs, OVJP Organic Vapor Jet Printing, OVPD Organic Vapor Phase Deposition and TOLED Transparent OLEDs. The Company is working on a number of technologies required for the fabrication of OLEDs on flexible substrates. As of December 31, 2012, it was conducting research and development on FOLED technologies internally, under several of its United States government programs and in connection with the government-sponsored Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University (ASU). The Company announced its, patented encapsulation technology for the packaging of flexible OLEDs and other thin-film devices, as well as for use as a barrier film for plastic substrates. Its approach for manufacturing a small molecule OLED, including a PHOLED, is based on a vacuum thermal evaporation (VTE) process.

The Company has partnered with Aixtron AG, which is a manufacturer of metal-organic chemical vapor deposition equipment, to develop and qualify equipment for the fabrication of OLED displays utilizing the OVPD process. It has developed a technology for the fabrication of OLEDs that have transparent cathodes. TOLEDs use a transparent cathode and either a transparent, reflective or opaque metal anode.

Organic Light Emitting Diode Materials Supply Business

The Company supplies its proprietary UniversalPHOLED materials to display manufacturers and others. The Company qualifies its materials in OLED devices before shipment in order to ensure that they meet required specifications. During 2012, the Company continued supplying its proprietary UniversalPHOLED materials to SDC for use in its commercial AMOLED display products and for its development efforts. During 2012 , the Company also supplied its UniversalPHOLED materials to! LG Displ! ay for use in its commercial AMOLED display products, to Tohoku Pioneer for use in its commercial PMOLED display products, and Konica Minolta for its manufacture of commercial OLED lighting products. During 2012, the Company also supplied its proprietary OLED materials to these and various other product manufacturers for evaluation and for purposes of development, manufacturing qualification and product testing.

The Company competes with Eastman Kodak Company (Kodak), Cambridge Display Technology, Ltd. (CDT), Sumitomo Chemical Company (Sumitomo), Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. (Idemitsu Kosan), Merck KGaA and BASF Corporation.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Equities Trading UP
    Universal Display (NASDAQ: OLED) shares shot up 14.68 percent to $28.52 after the company reported stronger-than-expected Q1 results.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Stocks finished the week on the plus side, as the Dow hit a new high, and the broader market held its own against more bearish investors who are arguing more forcefully that the long bull market has to come to an end at some point. Several stocks helped to build some excitement for market participants, and Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE  ) , Universal Display (NASDAQ: OLED  ) , and Nuverra Environmental Solutions (NYSE: NES  ) were among the best-performing stocks in the market Friday.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    The Q1 2014 earnings report for advanced materials stock GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ: GTAT), a potential peer of stocks like Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW), UniPixel Inc (NASDAQ: UNXL) and Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ: OLED), is due out after the market closes later today. Aside from the GT Advanced Technologies earnings report, it should be said that Corning Incorporated already reported earnings on Monday, April 28 while UniPixel Inc  and Universal Display Corporation are both scheduled to release earnings after the market closes on Thursday. All of these stocks are interesting because all supply advanced materials to consumer electronics, mobile device, solar and organic light emitting diode (OLED) or light emitting diode (LED) makers.

  • [By Steve Symington]

    What: Shares of Universal Display Corporation (NASDAQ: OLED  ) plunged 10% Monday following reports Samsung  (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) has abandoned plans to build a next-gen OLED television manufacturing facility.

Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: NeoPhotonics Corp (NPTN)

NeoPhotonics Corporation, incorporated on October 31, 1996, is a designer and manufacturer of photonic integrated circuit (PIC)-based modules and subsystems for bandwidth-intensive, high-speed communications networks. The Company has a portfolio of over 300 products, including products that enable data transmission at 10 gigabytes per second, 40 gigabytes per second and 100 gigabytes per second, agility products, such as reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers (ROADMs) that allocate bandwidth to adjust for volatile traffic patterns, and access products that provide high-bandwidth connections to more devices and people over fixed and wireless networks. In October 2011, the Company acquired Santur Corporation. In June 2013, it announced first shipments of optical transceiver modules out of its new, high capacity factory in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China.

The Company’s products are categorized in 34 product families. The Company sells its products t o the network equipment vendors globally, including ADVA AG Optical Networking Ltd., Alcatel-Lucent SA, Ciena Corporation (including its recent acquisition of Nortel’s Metro Ethernet Networks business), Cisco Systems, Inc., FiberHome Technologies Group, ECI Telecom Ltd., Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Fujitsu Limited, Harmonic, Inc., Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, NEC Corporation, Nokia Siemens Networks B.V. and ZTE Corporation.

The Company competes with Finisar Corporation, JDS Uniphase Corporation, MRV Communications, Inc., NTT Electronics Corporation and Sumitomo Electric Device Innovations, Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Anders Bylund]

    Close competitor NeoPhotonics (NYSE: NPTN  ) soared 15% higher. Larger rival JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ: JDSU  ) jumped 7.9% to become the fastest gainer on the S&P 500. If Ciena can beat its own expectations in selling Internet backbone equipment to a bevy of major telecoms, its chief rivals must eventually follow suit. JDS is only one month removed from its latest quarterly report, which sent shares diving 7% overnight (but all was forgiven a week later). NeoPhotonics also reported in early May, but didn’t make any waves then.

Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: Peregrine Semiconductor Corp (PSMI)

Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation (Peregrine), incorporated in February 1990, is engaged in the design, manufacturing and marketing radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) for the aerospace and defense, broadband, industrial, mobile wireless device, test and measurement equipment, and wireless infrastructure markets. The Company is provider of RFICs. Its products include RF switches-antenna, RFswitches-broadband and general purpose, digital attenuators, synthesizers, mixers/upconverters, prescalers, variable gain amplifiers, digitally tunable capacitors, DC-DC converters and power amplifiers. Its UltraCMOS technology enables the design, manufacture, and integration of multiple radio frequency (RF), mixed signal, and digital functions on a single chip. Its solutions target a range of applications in the aerospace and defense, broadband, industrial, mobile wireless device, test and measurement equipment, and wireless infrastructure markets.

As of December 25, 2010, The Company offers a portfolio of more than 120 RFICs, including switches, digital attenuators, mixers/upconverters, and prescalers, and it is developing power amplifiers (Pas), digitally tunable capacitors (DTCs), and DC-DC converters. During the fiscal year ended December 25, 2010, its products were sold to more than 1,400 module manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), contract manufacturers, and other customers, including such companies as Amalfi Semiconductor, Inc., The Boeing Company, EPCOS AG, Ericsson AB, Hitachi Media Electronics Company, Ltd., Hitachi Metals, Ltd., Humax Co., Ltd., Itron, Inc., LG Innotek Co., Ltd., Mini-Circuits, Inc., Motorola, Inc., Murata Manufacturing Company, Ltd., Planet Technology Corp., Rockwell Collins, Inc., Rohde & Schwarz, Inc., SIPAT Co., Ltd., Skyworks Solutions, Inc., Sony Corporation, Source Photonics, Inc., and Thales Alenia Space.

RF switches-antenna

RF Switches are utilized in the RF section of mobile devices to route RF signals between! the antenna and the handset core, through one or more signal paths. For mobile handsets, its switch products offer up to 10 RF signal paths with integrated digital bus support and onboard voltage regulation.

RFswitches-broadband and general purpose

The Company’s broadband and general purpose RF switches deliver combination of broadband linearity, settling time, and isolation while routing RF signals to their respective transmit or receive paths. Its attributes are being used by the OEMs of LED and plasma digital televisions (DTVs), set top box, cable infrastructure, test and measurement devices

Digital Attenuators

The Company provides digital step attenuators that are used to control the amplitude of an RF or analog signal. The products include digital control circuitry integrated with an RF attenuator core and are used in third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) cellular base stations, repeaters, and point-to-p oint nodes.

Synthesizers

The Company’s frequency synthesizers provide an electronic system for generating any of a range of frequencies from a single fixed timebase or oscillator. Its synthesizers provide low-power, ultra-low phase noise, programmable frequency synthesis for defense, broadband, industrial, and wireless infrastructure markets.

Mixers/Upconverters

The Company’s mixers/upconverters are used to translate encoded voice/data signals from one frequency to another to enable radio transmission. Its mixers / upconverters are incorporated into mixer modules and provide industry linearity, which is a metric to maximizing wireless data transmission rates. These attributes are critical in 3G and 4G cellular base station designs.

Prescalers

The Company’s prescalers operate in the C, X, and Ku bands to divide the frequency of a wireless signal in order to extend the operating range of a sy nthesizer beyond its base capability. Its prescalers complem! ent its f! requency synthesizer line, providing its customers with design.

Variable Gain Amplifiers

The Company’s Variable Gain Amplifiers (VGAs) are used in both the receiving and transmitting path of a radio system to maintain a signal’s strength at a level necessary for other circuits to operate optimally. Its DVGA is the monolithic integrated circuit (IC) to integrate three functional blocks, including digital attenuators, RF/IF amplifiers and a common serial interface onto a single IC.

DC-DC Converters

The Company’s frequency-configurable DC-DC converters efficiently perform voltage conversion using a high frequency switching technique that minimizes system noise. Its DC-DC converters are designed to enable a distributed power management architecture designed for satellite applications, replacing inefficient drop out regulators and central converters.

Power Amplifiers

The Company’s PAs amplify RF sign als in order to generate the necessary power required to establish a radio link between a base station and a mobile device. With its UltraCMOS technology the Company has the ability to integrate its PAs on a single chip with other RF, mixed signal, and digital components.

The Company competes with Hittite, M/A-COM, NEC, Renesas, RFMD, Skyworks, Sony, Toshiba and TriQuint Semiconductor.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: PSMI) is a lesser known name that is a top stock to buy at Deutsche Bank. The company recently released a new radio frequency (RF) switch specifically designed for broadband cable systems. With HD content exploding, this could be a huge home run for the company. Deutsche Bank has a $14 price target for the stock, the same as the consensus target.

Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: Micropac Industries Inc (MPAD)

Micropac Industries, Inc. (Micropac), incorporated on March 3, 1969, manufactures and distributes various types of hybrid microelectronic circuits, solid state relays, power operational amplifiers, and optoelectronic components and assemblies. Micropac’s products are used as components in a range of military, space and industrial systems, including aircraft instrumentation and navigation systems, power supplies, electronic controls, computers, medical devices, and high-temperature (200o degree Celsius) products. The Company’s products are either custom (being application-specific circuits designed and manufactured to meet the particular requirements of a single customer) or standard components. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011 (fiscal 2011), its custom-designed components accounted for approximately 34% of its revenue and standard components accounted for approximately 66% of its revenue.

Micropac occupies approximately 36,000 square feet of manufacturing, engineering and office space in Garland, Texas. The Company owns 31,200 square feet of that space and leases an additional 4,800 square feet. It also sub-contracts some manufacturing to Inmobiliaria San Jose De Ciuddad Juarez S.A. DE C.V, a maquila contract manufacturer in Juarez, Mexico.

Micropac provides microelectronic and optoelectronic components and assemblies along with contract electronic manufacturing services, and offers a range of products sold to the industrial, medical, military, aerospace and space markets. The Microcircuits product line includes custom microcircuits, solid state relays, power operational amplifiers, and regulators. During fiscal 2011, microcircuits product line accounted for 51% of its revenue and the optoelectronics product line accounted for 62% of its business respectively. The Company’s core technology is the packaging and interconnects of miniature electronic components, utilizing thick film and thin film sub strates, forming microelectronics circuits. Other technologi! es include light emitting and light sensitive materials and products, including light emitting diodes and silicon phototransistors used in its optoelectronic components, and assemblies.

The Company’s basic products and technologies include custom design hybrid microelectronic circuits, solid state relays and power controllers, custom optoelectronic assemblies and components, optocouplers, light-emitting diodes, Hall-Effect devices, displays, power operational amplifiers, fiber optic components and assemblies, and high temperature (200o degree Celsius) products. Micropac’s products are primarily sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) who serve major markets, which includes military/aerospace, such as aircraft instrumentation, guidance and navigations systems, control circuitry, power supplies and laser positioning; space, which include control circuitry, power monitoring and sensing, and industrial, which includes power control equipment and robot ics.

The Company’s products are marketed throughout the United States and in Western Europe. During fiscal 2011, approximately 21% of the Company’s revenue was from international customers. The Company’s major customers include contractors to the United States Government. During fiscal 2010, sales to these customers for the Department of Defense (DOD) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contracts accounted for approximately 62% of its revenues. The Company’s customers are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Rockwell Int’l, and NASA.

The Company compete with Teledyne Industries, Inc., MS Kennedy, Honeywell, Avago and International Rectifier.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Geoff Gannon] strong>ADDvantage Technologies (AEY)

    · Solitron Devices (SODI)

    · OPT-Sciences (OPST)

    Micropac

    Micropac is 76% owned by Heinz-Werner Hempel. He’s a German businessman. You can see the German company he founded here. He’s had control of Micropac for a long-time. I don’t have an exact number in front of me. But I would guess it’s been something like 25 years.

    ADDvantage

    ADDvantage Technologies is controlled by the Chymiak brothers. See the company’s April 4 press release explaining their decision to turn over the CEO position to an outsider. Regardless, the Chymiaks still control 47% of the company. Ken Chymiak is now chairman. And David Chymiak is still a director and now the company’s chief technology officer. Clearly, it’s still their company.

    By the way, the name ADDvantage Technologies has nothing to do with the Chymiaks. Today’s AEY really traces its roots to a private company called Tulsat. The Chymiak brothe rs acquired that company about 27 years ago. So, effectively, when you buy shares of AEY you are buying into a 27-year-old family-controlled company.

    That’s pretty typical in the world of net-nets.

    Solitron

    Solitron Devices is 29% owned by Shevach Saraf. He has been the CEO for 20 years. The post-bankruptcy Solitron has never known another CEO. Before the bankruptcy, Solitron was a much bigger, much different company. So even though we are not talking about the founder here – and even though 70% of the company’s shares are not held by the CEO – we’re still talking about a company where one person has a lot of control. Solitron only has three directors. Saraf is the chairman, CEO, president, CFO and treasurer. Neither of the other two directors joined the board within the last 15 years. So, we aren’t talking about a lot of tumult at the top.

    In fact, profitable net-nets seem to be especially common candidates for abandoning the responsibili ties of a public comp

  • [By Geoff Gannon] % of NCAV, has similar (slightly better) z- and f-scores, a FCF margin of 6%, but has ROA of 28%.

    ADDvantage (AEY) sells at 95% of NCAV, has similar (in the ballpark) scores and FCF and ROA of 23%.

    The slightly better businesses are currently more expensive in terms of price/NCAV. They have less asset-based downside protection, but they are better businesses.

    How do you quantify and qualify what is cheap enough? To me, there’s a big difference in relative cheapness in a company selling at 74% of NCAV versus one selling at 95%. I’m wondering if I’m putting too much weight on this cheapness measurement instead of acknowledging that any decent business selling at less than NCAV is cheap enough. Yet, one has to have some quantifiable idea of when something is not cheap enough anymore.

    Can you help me put this into a unified framework?

    Dan

    There’s a great post over at Oddball Stocks called: “A Stock is a Business”. Read it. Then go over to Richard Beddard’s Interactive Investor Blog. Bookmark that blog. Read it religiously. He looks at Ben Graham type stocks in the U.K. And he looks at them not just as stocks but as pieces of a business.

    Here’s what Richard said in a post called “Giving Up on Mastery of the Universe”:

    I need to know:

    1. Whether the managers have made good decisions in the past, and whether their incentives work in the interests of the owners, because those kind of managers often add value to a company.

    2. The products a company sells will still be in demand for years to come, because if they’re not then the past, which we know, does not tell us anything about the future, which we don’t.

    3. A company is financially strong enough to withstand the kinds of shocks companies typically experience bearing in mind some are more sensitive to events than others.

    4. How to judge whether the share price undervalues the company, bearing in mind the precedi ng three factors.

Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: Solitron Devices Inc (SODI)

Solitron Devices, Inc., incorporated on March 12, 1987, designs, develops, manufactures and markets solid-state semiconductor components and related devices primarily for the military and aerospace markets. The Company manufactures a variety of bipolar and metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) power transistors, power and controls hybrids, junction and power MOS field effect transistors (Power MOSFETS), field effect transistors and other related products. It’s products are custom made pursuant to contracts with customers whose end products are sold to the United States government. The Company’s semiconductor products can be classified as active electronic components. The Company’s active electronic components include bipolar transistors and MOS transistors.

The Company’s semiconductor products are used as components of military, commercial, and aerospace electronic equipment, such as ground and airborne radar systems, power distribution systems, missiles, miss ile control systems, and spacecraft. Its products have been used on the space shuttle and on the spacecraft sent to the moon, to Jupiter (on Galileo) and, to Mars (on Global Surveyor and Mars Sojourner).

Power Transistors

The Company manufactures a variety of power bipolar transistors for applications requiring currents in the range of 0.1 ampere to 300 ampere or voltages in the range of 30 volts to 1000 volts. It also manufactures power diodes under the same military specification. In addition, it manufactures power N-Channel and P-Channel MOSFET transistors and is expanding that line in accordance with customers’ requirements.

Hybrids

The Company manufactures thick film hybrids, which generally contain discrete semiconductor chips, integrated circuits, chip capacitors and thick film or thin film resistors. The hybrids are of the high-power type and are custom manufactured for military and aerospace systems. Some of the Company’s hybrids include high power voltage regulators, p! ower amplifiers, power drivers, boosters and controllers. The Company manufactures both standard and custom hybrids.

Voltage Regulators

Voltage regulators provide the power required to activate electronic components such as the integrated circuits. These circuits are found in all electronic devices from radar and missile systems to smart phones.

Field Effect Transistors

The Company manufactures about 30 different types of junction and MOS field effect transistor chips. They are used to produce over 350 different field effect transistor types. The Company’s field effect transistors conform to standard Joint Electronic Device Engineering Council designated transistors, commonly referred to as standard 2N number types. It manufactures both standard and custom field effect transistors.

The Competes with IXYS Corporation, Motorola Inc., International Rectifier, Microsemi Corporation, M.S. Kennedy Corporation, Nat el Engineering Company and Sensitron Semiconductor.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Geoff Gannon] strong>OPT-Sciences (OPST)

    Micropac

    Micropac is 76% owned by Heinz-Werner Hempel. He’s a German businessman. You can see the German company he founded here. He’s had control of Micropac for a long-time. I don’t have an exact number in front of me. But I would guess it’s been something like 25 years.

    ADDvantage

    ADDvantage Technologies is controlled by the Chymiak brothers. See the company’s April 4 press release explaining their decision to turn over the CEO position to an outsider. Regardless, the Chymiaks still control 47% of the company. Ken Chymiak is now chairman. And David Chymiak is still a director and now the company’s chief technology officer. Clearly, it’s still their company.

    By the way, the name ADDvantage Technologies has nothing to do with the Chymiaks. Today’s AEY really traces its roots to a private company called Tulsat. The Chymiak brothers acquired that company about 27 years ago. So, effectively, when you buy shares of AEY you are buying into a 27-year-old family-controlled company.

    That’s pretty typical in the world of net-nets.

    Solitron

    Solitron Devices is 29% owned by Shevach Saraf. He has been the CEO for 20 years. The post-bankruptcy Solitron has never known another CEO. Before the bankruptcy, Solitron was a much bigger, much different company. So even though we are not talking about the founder here – and even though 70% of the company’s shares are not held by the CEO – we’re still talking about a company where one person has a lot of control. Solitron only has three directors. Saraf is the chairman, CEO, president, CFO and treasurer. Neither of the other two directors joined the board within the last 15 years. So, we aren’t talking about a lot of tumult at the top.

    In fact, profitable net-nets seem to be especially common candidates for abandoning the responsibilities of a public company without actually getting taken private.

    OPT -Sciences

    This

  • [By Geoff Gannon]

    Solitron (SODI) sells at 74% of NCAV, has decent z- and f-scores, a FCF margin of 5.3% and an ROA of 12%.

    Micropac (MPAD) sells at 83% of NCAV, has similar (slightly better) z- and f-scores, a FCF margin of 6%, but has ROA of 28%.

    ADDvantage (AEY) sells at 95% of NCAV, has similar (in the ballpark) scores and FCF and ROA of 23%.

  • [By Geoff Gannon] on the amount of stock you can buy and the position size you like. For me, I try not to start buying a stock that I think will never make up 10% of my portfolio. If you don’t mind having 5% positions in your portfolio, your portfolio can obviously be twice as big as mine and you can still consider buying the same small stocks I do. In terms of specific stocks, it depends on the amount of float and the volume the stock trades in an average month. We are really getting into specifics here. And I may be boring people. But if you’d like to hear more about the minutiae of how you actually buy and sell tiny stocks like these, let me know, and I’ll do an article on the subject.

    By the way, there is a hard and fast rule of thumb that it usually makes no sense to invest in a company with a market cap that is smaller than your portfolio. This is true for both fund and individual investors. Funds break it all the time. But, frankly, it is probably a waste of an analyst/fund manager’s time to even analyze such tiny positions relative to the size of the whole portfolio. Since even when we are discussing very small stocks we are still talking about millions and millions of dollars in market cap, this is hardly a concern for most individuals.

    So, for individual investors, actual inability to acquire enough shares of a company to meaningful influence their portfolio is rarely the problem. If you bid for a stock month after month — you’ll get your shares.

    The concern for individual investors is not whether buying enough shares is possible. The concern is how quickly and easily you can buy and sell. This is what we call “liquidity.”

    Instead of thinking about stocks as liquid or illiquid, you should think in terms of your portfolio and your liquidity needs. It doesn’t make much sense to use what I’ll call an “objective” (as in stock-oriented) approach to liquidity rather than a “subjective” (as in investor-oriented) approa ch to liquidity.

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Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: ARM Holdings PLC (ARMH)

ARM Holdings plc (ARM), incorporated on October 16, 1990, designs microprocessors, physical intellectual property (IP) and related technology and software, and sells development tools. As of December 31, 2012, the Company operated in three business segments: the Processor Division (PD), the Physical IP Division (PIPD) and the System Design Division (SDD). ARM licenses and sells its technology and products to international electronics companies, which in turn manufacture, markets and sells microprocessors, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and application-specific standard processors (ASSPs) based on ARM’s technology to systems companies for incorporation into a range of end products. It also licenses and sells development tools directly to systems companies and provides support services to its licensees, systems companies and other systems designers.

ARM processor architecture and physical IP is used in embedded microprocessor applications, i ncluding cellular phones, digital televisions, mobile computers and personal computer peripherals, smart cards and microcontrollers. ARM’s principal geographic markets are Europe, the United States and Asia Pacific. ARM’s product offering includes microprocessor Cores: RISC microprocessor cores, including specific functions, such as video and graphics IP and on-chip fabric IP; embedded software; physical IP; development tools, and support and maintenance services.

Processor Division

The PD encompasses those resources that are centered on microprocessor cores, including specific functions, such as graphics IP, fabric IP, embedded software IP and configurable digital signal processing (DSP) IP. Service revenues consist of design consulting services and revenues from support, maintenance and training.

Physical IP Division

The PIPD is focused on building blocks for translation of a circuit design into actual silicon. Durin g the year ended December 31, 2012, the Company’s total av! erage PIPD headcount was 557. ARM is a provider of physical IP components for the design and manufacture of integrated circuits, including systems-on-chip (SoCs). ARM Artisan physical IP products include embedded memory, standard cell and input/output components. Artisan physical IP also includes a limited portfolio of analog and mixed-signal products. ARM’s physical IP components are developed for a range of process geometries ranging from 20 nanometer – 250 nanometer. ARM licenses its products to customers for the design and manufacture of integrated circuits used in complex, high-volume applications, such as portable computing devices, communication systems, cellular phones, microcontrollers, consumer multimedia products, automotive electronics, personal computers and workstations and many others.

ARM’s embedded memory components include random access memories, read only memories and register files. These memories are provided in the form of a configurabl e memory compiler, which allows the customer to generate the appropriate configuration for the given application. ARM’s memory components include many configurable features, such as power-down modes, low-voltage data retention and fully static operation, as well as different transistor options to trade off performance and power. In addition, ARM’s memory components include built-in test interfaces that support the industry test methodologies and tools. ARM memory components also offer redundant storage elements.

ARM’s memory components are designed to enable the chip designer maximum flexibility to achieve the optimum power, performance, and density trade-off. ARM offers standard cell components that are optimized for high performance, high density or ultra high density. ARM logic products deliver optimal performance, power and area when building ARM Processors, Graphics, Video and Fabric IP along with general SoC subsystem implementation. ARM delivers phy sical interface for a range of DDR SDRAM (double-data rate s! ynchronou! s dynamic random-access memory) applications ranging from mission critical applications to low-power memory sub-systems. Silicon on Insulator (SOI) products is an alternative methodology to traditional semiconductor fabrication techniques.

System Design Division

The SDD is focused on the tools and models used to create and debug software and system-on-chip (SoC) designs. ARM’s software development tools help a software design engineer deliver products right the first time. Engineers use these tools in the design and deployment of code, from applications running on open operating systems right through to low-level firmware. The ARM Development Studio is a hardware components that allow the software designer to connect to a real target system and control the system for the purposes of finding errors in the software. The ARM DSTREAM unit allows the software developer to control the software running on the prototype product and examine the internal st ate of the prototype product. ARM Development Boards are ideal systems for prototyping ARM-based products. The ARM Microcontroller Development Kit supports ARM-based microcontrollers and 8051-based microcontrollers from companies, such as Analog Devices, Atmel, Freescale, Fujitsu, NXP, Samsung, Sharp, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Toshiba. The ARM Microcontroller Development Kit is used by developers who are building products and writing software using standard off-the-shelf microcontrollers.

The ARM Microprocessor Families

ARM architecture processors offers a range of performance options in the ARM7 family, ARM9 family, ARM11 family, ARM Cortex family and ARM SecurCore family. The ARM architecture gives systems designers a choice of processor cores at different performance/price points. The ARM7 offers 32-bit architecture capable of operating from 8/16-bit memory on an 8/16-bit bus through the implementation of the Thumb instruction set . The ARM9 family consists of a range of microprocessors in ! the 150-2! 50MHz range. Each processor has been designed for a specific application or function, such as an application processor for a feature phone or running a wireless fidelity (WiFi) protocol stack. The ARM9 family consists of a range of microprocessors in the 150-250 megahertz range. The ARM11 family consists of a range of microprocessors in the 300-600 megahertz range. ARM Cortex family is ARM’s family of processor cores based on version 7 of the ARM Architecture. The family is split into three series: A Series, A Series and M Series.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Among the recent news from chip stock Advanced Micro Devices, Inc (NYSE: AMD) was a partnership with ARM Holdings plc (NASDAQ: ARMH) that’s intended to give the company a leg up on rivals like Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA). I should point out that we previously had an open position in Advanced Micro Devices in our SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) portfolio from last summer up until late January when we locked in a small loss. We bailed not because we don’t believe in the company’s potential over the long term, but because our SCN EO is a trading portfolio rather than a long term buy and hold portfolio. Moreover, AMD’s shares had sunk again after the company reported earnings – a repeat performance of what happened after three previous earnings reports. With that in mind, here is a quick look at some of the latest good news AMD is producing:

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Perhaps the biggest wild card of them all is speculation that a buyer could swoop AMD up without anyone noticing. This buyout is not even really a rumor, but as Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM), ARM Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: ARMH) and others want a better way to compete against Intel, we do not view this as impossible.

Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: NVIDIA Corporation(NVDA)

NVIDIA Corporation provides visual computing, high performance computing, and mobile computing solutions that generate interactive graphics on various devices ranging from tablets and smart phones to notebooks and workstations. It operates in three segments: Graphic Processing Unit (GPU), Professional Solutions Business (PSB), and Consumer Products Business (CPB). The GPU segment offers GeForce discrete and chipset products, which support desktop and notebook personal computers plus memory products. The PSB segment provides its Quadro professional workstation products and other professional graphics products, including its NVIDIA Tesla high-performance computing products used in the manufacturing, entertainment, medical, science, and aerospace industries. The CPB segment offers Tegra mobile products, which support tablets, smartphones, personal media players, Internet television, automotive navigation, and other similar devices. This segment also licenses video game consol es and other digital consumer electronics devices. The company sells its products to original equipment manufacturers, original design manufacturers, add-in-card manufacturers, consumer electronics companies, and system builders worldwide that utilize its processors as a core component of their entertainment, business, and professional solutions. NVIDIA Corporation was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Divine]

    Stocks headed into the weekend on a strong note, as all three major indices ended higher and the Dow finished at an all-time closing high. Although Wall Street polished off the week with gains, there wasn’t an overwhelming, undeniable sense of bullishness; in fact, just less than 54% of stocks managed to advance. Not included in that 54% were today’s three most miserable performers: NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA  ) , Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED  ) , and Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC  ) , each of which ended near the bottom of the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) on Friday. The S&P, for its part, tacked on two points, or 0.2%, to end at 1,878. 

  • [By John Udovich]

    Among the recent news from chip stock Advanced Micro Devices, Inc (NYSE: AMD) was a partnership with ARM Holdings plc (NASDAQ: ARMH) that’s intended to give the company a leg up on rivals like Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA). I should point out that we previously had an open position in Advanced Micro Devices in our SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) portfolio from last summer up until late January when we locked in a small loss. We bailed not because we don’t believe in the company’s potential over the long term, but because our SCN EO is a trading portfolio rather than a long term buy and hold portfolio. Moreover, AMD’s shares had sunk again after the company reported earnings – a repeat performance of what happened after three previous earnings reports. With that in mind, here is a quick look at some of the latest good news AMD is producing:

  • [By Vinay Singh]

    The only close competitor to Snapdragon 800 is NVIDIA (NVDA)’s fourth generation Tegra chips, Tegra 4i, which are expected to be launched in the beginning of next year, and Broadcom’s (BRCM) recently launched BCM21892. The Tegra 4i will be half the size of Snapdragon 800 processor and BCM21892 is currently the smallest LTE 4G enabled chip in the industry. The smaller size of the chips makes them cheaper to produce and more energy efficient. However, Qualcomm’s earlier launch of its Snapdragon 800 processor with an LTE –Advanced feature places it in an advantageous position, as there is no other competing product.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Despite some pull back in the market recently, chip stock Advanced Micro Devices, Inc (NYSE: AMD) has largely held up as have Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA). I should mention that we recently had an open position in Advanced Micro Devices in our SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) portfolio from last summer up until late January when we locked in a small loss. We decided to get out in part because it’s a trading portfolio and also because AMD’s shares sank once more after the company had issued an earnings report – a repeat of what happened after three previous earnings reports. Nevertheless and if you are an investor with a long term time horizon, you might want to consider the following news:

Top Semiconductor Companies To Own In Right Now: Camtek Ltd (CAMT)

Camtek Ltd. (Camtek), incorporated in 1987, designs, develops, manufactures and markets automated solutions dedicated for enhancing production processes and yield for the semiconductor manufacturing and packaging and the printed circuit board (PCB) and integrated circuit (IC) substrate industries. Camtek also designs, develops, manufactures and markets automated optical inspection (AOI), systems and related products. The Company’s AOI systems are used to enhance both production processes and yields for manufacturers in the semiconductor manufacturing and packaging industry and PCB and IC Substrate industry. Through the acquisition of Printar’s assets, it also engaged in developing, manufacturing, sale and marketing of direct digital material deposition systems and inks for the PCB industry, with two major fields of activity: Solder Mask and Legend. In addition, through the acquisition of Sela, it is also engaged in the development, manufacturing and marketing of automate d scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) sample preparation equipment, primarily for the semiconductor industry.

As of December 31, 2011, the Company had sold more than 2,500 AOI systems in 34 countries worldwide. The Company’s PCB customer base includes the majority of the 100 PCB manufacturers worldwide. As of December 31, 2011, it had sold over 300 Falcon systems to more than 25 semiconductor manufacturers, among them outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT), integrated device manufacturers (IDM) and wafer level packaging subcontractors, including eight out of the top 10 semiconductors companies.

Camtek’s AOI systems consist of an electro-optical assembly unit, either movable or fixed, which consists of a video camera, precision optics and illumination sources. The electro-optical unit captures the image of the inspected product; a precise, either movable or fixed table, that holds the inspected product, and an electronic hardware unit, which operates the! entire system and includes embedded components that process and analyze the captured image by using its algorithms. Its systems can also compile and communicate statistical reports of inspection findings through the customer’s factory information system. The Company offers a range of systems for automated optical inspection of semiconductor wafers, IC substrates and PCBs. These systems are used to enhance production yields and assist in controlling manufacturing processes at wafer fabrication, test and assembly houses, and PCB plants worldwide.

The Company’s Falcon systems are designed for the back end market of the semiconductor industry. The Falcon’s advanced algorithms and inspection capabilities enable its dedicated models to detect defects in the die, which, if left undetected, may cause failure. The Condor is designed to meet the current and future inspection needs of the semiconductor industry. The Condor, through algorithms and advanced hardware configuration, is designed to enhance two dimensional (2D) and three dimensional (3D) detection abilities and increased throughput. The Condor family includes models for: 3D and 2D metrology and inspection of bumped-wafer prepared for packaging in the flip-chip technology; 2D metrology and inspection of finished wafers at the end of their manufacturing process and in test houses; Post-dicing inspection of frame-mounted wafers at assembly and packaging facilities, where it adds the value of detecting dicing-related damage, and inspection and metrology of micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) and other special applications.

Condor 5LED is an AOI system designed to provide solutions to a range of requirements that are to light emitting diode (LED) semiconductor manufacturers. The LED market’s special inspection requirements are characterized by 3-6 inch wafers, each of which may contain between 100 to over 200 thousand LED devices per wafer. Typically, the wafe r is made of a translucent compound semiconductor, such as g! allium ar! senide, gallium phosphide and/or indium phosphide. The Gannet system is designed for the front end market of the semiconductor industry.

The Company’s AOI products for this industry consist of five product lines: the Phoenix, Dragon and Orion for the inspection of inner and outer layers of PCB panels and ultra-fine-line IC substrate; large area masks (LAM) dedicated for inspection of artwork; and the Pegasus for final inspection (AFI) of IC substrates and high density interconnect (HDI) panels. The Phoenix product family, introduced in November 2011, is designed to support a range of the demanding PCB and IC substrate applications, while keeping in pace with the dynamic technology changes in the industry. The Phoenix product family is enhanced with Spark – Camtek’s and detection engine providing high detection capabilities, while minimizing false calls.

Dragon systems are high-throughput, automation-ready systems for inspection of all PCB types i n a mass production environment. Dragon models are optimized for specific PCB technology ranges – from mainstream circuits of typically 100 (microns) conductor line width, up to high density substrates having 12 (microns) wide conductive lines. All Dragon models are designed to interface with automated material handling mechanisms provided by the Company or other automation suppliers. Orion systems are stand-alone AOI systems for high volume inspection of all PCB types designed to operate in inspectify mode of operation. Inspectify is a mode of operation enabling the operator to perform verification immediately after inspection on the same system, thus saving time and eliminating handling-related defects.

LAM is specially designed for main-stream LAM inspection. It offers unparalleled detection ability on LAM with down to 25 (microns) line/space width technology. The LAM incorporates advanced technology innovations to ensure the level of detection that these ma sks require at this critical production stage. Camtek offers! various ! stand-alone verification systems that enable verification of panels after inspection. The Pegasus line includes systems for automated inspection of finished IC substrates that are subsequently used in packaging of ball grid array (BGA) and Chip Scale Package (CSP) devices. The Pegasus inspects both sides of the substrate, detecting process and mechanical defects, in particular in the gold-plated areas, where the substrate will interconnect with the silicon die or the PCB, and in the solder-mask areas. Pegasus models handle substrates in strip format in magazines.

GreenJet is a SM digital printing system aimed to replace the conventional SM application lines for prototypes and high mix low volume production. The GreenJet system offers manufacturers flexible and digital SM printing technology solution. The LGP system incorporates PCB digital legend printing technologies with specially developed heat curable ink, resulting in output and system performance. Camtek h as developed the inks for both LGP and GreenJet, which involves different chemicals mixed together in order to reach the required ink characterization.

The Company competes with Rudolph Technologies Inc., KLA-Tencor Corporation, Topcon Corporation, Toray Industries, Inc., Hitachi Ltd., Nidec Tosok Corporation., FEI Company, SII Nanotechnology Japan, Carl Zeiss, Inc., Orbotech Ltd., Dainippon Screen Manufacturing Company, Lloyd-Doyle Limited, Gigavis Co. Ltd., ATI Electronics Pty Ltd., Shirai Electronics Industrial Co. Ltd., First EIE SA and MicroCraft K.K.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    In retrospect, their pullbacks come as no real surprise. Neither Voxeljet AG (NYSE:VJET) nor Camtek LTD. (NASDAQ:CAMT) saw their shares soar on any news that was meaningfully sustainable, and after the “shoot first, ask questions later” market had a chance to start asking questions, it became clear that – even with the largest of glimmers of corporate progress unveiled a few weeks ago – CAMT and VJET both had been bid up more on hype and less on substance. Meanwhile (and this could be bitterly ironic to some), a small cap play in the same 3D printing space that (1) didn’t beat the daylights out of its hype-drum, and (2) is actually much closer to bringing a revenue-bearing product to the market [per today’s news – more on that below] isn’t getting anywhere near the same attention. That company? Makism 3D Corp. (OTCBB:MDDD). The good news is, MDDD finally looks like it’s revving its engine, while Camtek and Voxeljet AG shares continue to deteriorate.

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    Investors who’ve made a point of keeping tabs on the 3D printing craze this year will know that a pair of small caps in this space – Camtek LTD (NASDAQ:CAMT) and Voxeljet AG (NYSE:VJET) – have dominated the headlines in just the past few weeks. For CAMT, the big news was the recent announcement that it would be the first 3D printer maker to develop a product that could print circuit boards. As for VJET, news that it was going to greatly expand its on-demand-printing capacity (for customers that need smaller occasional jobs but don’t want to buy a printer of their own) lit the stock up quite nicely.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Stocks on the Move: Ingersoll-Rand is down 22.2% at $55.54 after completing a spin-off of Allegion plc. Canadian National Railway Co. (NYSE: CNI) is down 48.6% at $57.78 following a 2-for-1 stock split. Camtek Ltd. (NASDAQ: CAMT) is up 38.9% at $5.71.