Several semiconductor companies have seen downgrades the past few days, including Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) , Atheros, ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ONNN ) , National Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, and Taiwan Semiconductor. Analysts have also reduced earnings estimates on AMD (NYSE: AMD ) and Microchip Technology.
What's going on? Analysts cite a stream of bad news about PC and other electronics sales, along with some inventory issues and still-weak IT spending.
With all that worry out there in the sector, Fool analyst Rex Moore says it's time to look for some beaten-down bargains. He developed a screen that looks for companies with low price-to-earnings multiples, but also a relatively low amount of risk and the potential for reasonable growth. That helps avoid "value traps." The screen only picks up companies with total debt less than 60% of capital, and at least 5% expected annualized growth over the next five years.
Using that criteria, the best semiconductor values out there today are Micron Technology (NYSE: MU ) with a forward P/E of 4, Lam Research (Nasdaq: LRCX ) (7), Varian Semiconductor (Nasdaq: VSEA ) (8), Diodes (Nasdaq: DIOD ) (8.5), and Intel (9). Some readers may be wondering if growth estimates can be trusted for these companies, and that's something to consider -- and why you need to do your homework. But that's what these screens are for ... bringing up promising ideas to research. If you don't like Micron at 4 times earnings, consider the much more stable Intel at 9.
Watch the video here: