Cypress Is Getting Giddy

When reading the fourth-quarter report from Cypress Semiconductor (Nasdaq: CY  ) , I get the feeling that management is getting excited. Should investors follow along on that joyride?

This two-time Rule Breakers recommendation is just hitting its stride. Today's 7% pop extends three months of steady gains to an eye-popping 54%.

The touchscreen controller giant reported $227 million in sales, just above the Street estimate of $226 million. Strong sales into the handset market accounted for that outperfomance, led by touchscreen controllers and other programmable system-on-a-chip, or PSoC, circuits.

Non-GAAP earnings nearly doubled to $0.25 per share, again just ahead of analyst expectations. The book-to-bill ratio stands at an impressive 1.35, meaning that incoming orders are running 35% ahead of billed shipments at the moment. With an order backlog like that, management has plenty of visibility into upcoming revenue trends. So investors should be glad to see Cypress peg its first-quarter revenue guidance far above typical seasonal patterns, and announce plans to triple its manufacturing capacity for those hot-selling touchscreen controllers.

Touchscreen rivals Atmel (Nasdaq: ATML  ) and Synaptics (Nasdaq: SYNA  ) had better have something special up their sleeves, because Cypress is going after their accounts.

As if all that weren't enough, the Cypress report proceeds to go a little haywire. The company unfurls a litany of recent accomplishments: tablet and smartphone design wins, new products, shipment volume milestones, and LED lamp power chips lighting up 86 Macy's (NYSE: M  ) stores. Cypress is also making radiation-hardened memory chips for military applications, selling its CMOS camera chip operations to rival ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ONNN  ) in a little $31.4 million deal, and on and on.

As the icing on the cake, Cypress even plays the Chilean miners card: A PSoC replaced a bulky circuit board to let rescuers drop down a tiny camera at the start of the operation.

It's all a little giddy, but then the company is standing at the foothills of a potentially very rewarding trek into a touchscreen-powered future. Who can blame them?

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Cypress Semiconductor is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


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