Shares of semiconductor giant QUALCOMM (NASDAQ: QCOM ) soared on Thursday thanks to a strong earnings report. Or rather, a decent report packed with signs of greater things to come.
Share prices jumped as much as 4.9%, which is no small feat for a colossus with a market cap north of $100 billion. Moreover, Qualcomm didn't do it by crushing analyst targets in the third quarter. Adjusted earnings of $1.03 per share were right in line with Street targets, even though the $6.2 billion revenue line was a positive surprise.
No, the boost rides on future expectations. Qualcomm raised and tightened its full-year earnings and revenue targets based on healthy order trends for mobile chips. Meeting the new targets means delivering a strong fourth quarter, which includes something like 28% higher expected sales year over year driving a 19% earnings boost.
Management expects to get to these ambitious targets thanks to several so-called flagship Android devices that are about to ship with high-end Qualcomm processors inside. The core processor strength is also bolstered by Qualcomm's powerful position in the market for high-speed wireless radio technologies. When it comes to next-generation protocols like 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE Advanced radio tower networks, even Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) leans on Qualcomm's products. That's a particularly important win, because Apple holds a strong market share in exactly the kinds of highly developed and high-speed markets where Qualcomm does its best work.
Qualcomm's report underscores the rosy view of Apple CEO Tim Cook, who looks forward to product launches this fall, and dismisses the idea that high-end smartphone sales may have peaked. If nothing else, handset makers are fueling this view by placing large chip orders with Qualcomm and other component builders.
Now it's up to consumers to follow through and buy all these mobile gadgets this holiday season, and that's never a sure thing. That being said, investors with an interest in Qualcomm, Apple, or any other mobile powerhouse can heave a collective sigh of relief, as the signs of a decent holiday season are starting to pile up.
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