How Hard Is OmniVision Really Riding Apple's Coattails?

OmniVision Technologies (NASDAQ: OVTI  ) can be a frustrating stock to own. The maker of digital camera chips lives and dies with reported customer wins, and the stock tends to crater or soar when independent analysts tear the guts out of the latest Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) device -- depending on who made the camera.

Apple used OmniVision's sensors for the FaceTime camera on the iPhone 5 while the main camera contract went to Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) again, though OmniVision powers both cameras in the iPad Mini and iPad 4. But Apple itself is on the ropes, and investors worry that the Cupertino gravy train might not take OmniVision all the way to Shangri-La anymore. The stock has sputtered and coughed lately, ending up close to where it was three months ago.

That's all conjecture, though. OmniVision is set to report second-quarter results after the closing bell tonight, and that's when we find out exactly how the customer wins translate into real dollars.

Analysts see sales jumping 72% year-over-year to $375 million, but earnings should decline 35% to $0.31 per share. These estimates haven't moved much since the last report.

Personally, I don't expect any huge surprises tonight. OmniVision has found its sea legs after a tumultuous 2011, and the market for its flagship backside illumination sensors is maturing nicely. I have a longtime options position betting that OmniVision shares stay between $12 and $17 -- I'd be happy to buy more if the stock drops below that range to trigger my written calls, or to sell my shares at $17 if those written puts get triggered.

And if not, I'll simply pocket a handsome return on expiration in January and perhaps reload for another faux dividend play. This report will show me whether that's a reasonable strategy or not.

There is absolutely no argument that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and more importantly, your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.

 

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