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How Will Apple Do the Rest of This Year? Look at Cirrus Logic and TriQuint

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Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) component plays were on fire today, after the company announced blowout earnings. That's a welcome sign for me, since the portfolio I manage on not only owns Apple but has also bought a few Apple component plays. Yet earnings season continued tonight, forcing these companies to stand on their own and deliver without the glow of huge Apple sales propping them up. Let's take a look at how they did.

The Apple plays: TriQuint and Cirrus Logic
The Apple component suppliers my portfolio owns are TriQuint (Nasdaq: TQNT  ) and Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS  ) . TriQuint has been a dog since I bought it, down 60% while Cirrus Logic has gained more than 80%. Not surprisingly, that trend continued in tonight's earnings, when Cirrus Logic popped and TriQuint stalled.

Looking at the earnings story, Cirrus Logic slightly beat on both earnings and sales. It produced sales of $110.6 million and adjusted earnings of $0.36 per share. That slightly beats expectations of sales at $110.1 million and earnings of $0.34 per share. Looking into the future, the company is actually expected to miss expectations next quarter, with a midpoint of $101 million projected next quarter versus expectations around $106 million. However, while Cirrus Logic projected a blip this quarter, it hinted at huge demand building in the latter half of the year.

Likewise, TriQuint had weak guidance. Like Cirrus Logic, this quarter went pretty much according to expectations, but the company issued guidance way below expectations. Sales will come in at a midpoint of $178 million versus the Street expectation of $224 million. That's the kind of miss you can drive an 18-wheeler truck through; it's ugly. The company blamed the shortfall on Foxconn, which is essentially a proxy for Apple, since Foxconn contract manufactures for the company.

Weakness ahead for Apple, then opportunity
Looking at the two key suppliers, we get a common theme that there's going to be temporary weakness next quarter. Beyond these two, Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) -- another stock in my portfolio -- also hinted toward weakness next quarter that could be attributed to Apple.

Apple blew out estimates last quarter, but it was also aided by a huge iPhone 4S launch in China and buying events like the Chinese New Year that led to an influx of sales. Apple's guidance usually isn't very meaningful, since it's the king of low-balling, but its worse-than-expected guidance yesterday could have some merit. With key buying catalysts passed and the iPhone 4S approaching the mid-life cycle between upgrades, next quarter could disappoint analysts. I know "disappointing analysts" is a four-letter word with Apple since it almost never happens, but the signs are certainly there.

However, before you rush off to sell Apple, here's the good news: All signs also point to another monster back half of the year. Cirrus Logic announced a credit facility to facilitate "various product introductions" later in the year and seemed generally bullish on the next fiscal year. TriQuint said the second quarter will be weak but expects demand to return by the third quarter. Likewise, while Qualcomm's next quarter is weak, it upped its full-year earnings projection. The general consensus seems to be: Yeah, next quarter might stink, but wait until you see what the iPhone 5 does after the current quarter. All signs appear to be pointing toward an iPhone launch this fall.

The bottom line
Moving beyond what to expect from Apple itself, I remain impressed with Cirrus Logic. Aside from its obvious overreliance on Apple, I'm expecting several of its other endeavors -- such as new energy markets -- to begin paying off this year. On the other hand, I'm less than impressed with TriQuint.

Management consistently overpromises and underdelivers, and I generally find them out of touch and underperforming their peers. My colleague Anders Bylund called TriQuint CEO Ralph Quinsey the worst CEO of 2011. At the time, I thought that was an overly harsh assessment. However, as I watch TriQuint continue to flounder (mind you, a day after rival RF Micro Devices (Nasdaq: RFMD  ) beat expectations and rose 9%), I'm coming around to his thinking. The only reason for not selling TriQuint at this point is that a late-year iPhone 5 surge can't help pulling it along -- assuming it doesn't lose more content in the phone.

Ideas for a booming smartphone world
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Eric Bleeker owns shares of Cirrus Logic. The Motley Fool owns shares of TriQuint Semiconductor, Cirrus Logic, Apple, and Qualcomm. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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  • Report this Comment On April 25, 2012, at 11:46 PM, beetlebug62 wrote:

    Yeah and Bylund called Apple the Worst Stock to Own in 2010. I wouldn't take his negative opinion for very much.

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Eric Bleeker

Eric started at The Motley Fool in 2008 working in the Tech & Telecom sector. Today, he's the General Manager of You can follow him on Twitter to stay up to date with his tech industry analysis.

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