My modest holdings of Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) leave me feeling conflicted on a day like this.
The silver lining
On the one hand, it's great to see the constant underdog in the processor wars doing well. Shares jumped more than 19% Friday thanks to a confidence-boosting second-quarter report. The headline figure was a $0.09 non-GAAP profit per share on sales of $1.6 billion, just about in line with analyst estimates.
As if to shoot down critics of its all-in-one processor strategy, interim CEO Thomas Seifert noted that the new Fusion line of chips "is an unqualified hit and is one of our fastest-growing processors in our history."
The first Fusion-based server chips will hit the market in the current quarter, and we'll see whether this architecture can hold a candle to the Sandy Bridge high-end chips from Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) . AMD saw its server share plummet last summer, so there’s headroom for gains.
And in the graphics segment, AMD's products are holding their own against the upgraded video functions of Intel's platforms as well as the best NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) can offer. As a badge of honor, AMD graphics will power the next-generation Wii U console from Nintendo (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK), and rumor has it that both Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) and Sony (NYSE: SNE ) will follow suit with their refreshed consoles -- giving AMD a clean sweep of the console market.
So what's wrong, then?
All of this is great news for AMD investors like me. But this jump merely restored AMD shares to May prices, as a rough June took its toll on the stock. And most of all, AMD has been running under temporary leadership for six months now, and we still don't know who'll take the CEO seat.
The company reassured us all that the CEO search is still going strong: "The board is pleased with the quality of the candidates interviewed and is confident in its robust and active process. They continue making progress to ensure a person is selected with the right vision, experience and track record to lead AMD into the future and to create increased shareholder value."
That's fine -- I agree that quality beats speedy delivery -- but I find it somewhat telling and chilling that these words weren't delivered by AMD Chairman Bruce Claflin or any other board member. Instead, the news came from general counsel Harry Wolin, who also answered follow-up questions on that topic. Having lawyers speaking where you'd expect managers or directors to take the floor kind of creeps me out, with all due respect to Wolin.
I'm worried that the current duct-tape-and-spitballs, MacGyver-style management team will hand over a difficult mess to that final top talent and might be putting more spin on the situation than necessary.
Speed may not be of the essence, but it matters.
I'm inclined to take advantage of this resurgent stock next week and cash out of my AMD position very close to my buy-in price. I have my eye on a few alternatives that I think would serve me better than AMD from this point, including suddenly cheap mobile-audio purveyor Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS ) . And I have exposure to the mainstream chip industry already by way of my written puts on archrival Intel.
Add AMD to your Foolish watchlist, and then drop down to the comments box. Whether you want to commend me for making a tough decision or talk me out of selling AMD, I'm happy to hear what you think -- and so are all the other AMD investors, critics, and watchers out there.