Oh, the dangers of the guidance game.
Sometimes it doesn't matter how well your company is doing if you dare to dampen the mood with anything less than a tremendously optimistic outlook for the next quarter. That's what happened to Cypress Semiconductor (Nasdaq: CY ) last week: With $0.32 of non-GAAP earnings per share on $255 million in revenue, the maker of touchscreen-control chips and high-speed computer memory beat analyst estimates on both counts. And share prices climbed as much as 6% on the raw results.
But then the conference call started and management issued next-quarter guidance numbers. Again, the outlook was right in line with current analyst estimates. And the stock lost all of the goodwill from the second-quarter report, ending the day just about where it had started.
With a good night's sleep under their belts, investors then bid Cypress back up to a 6% gain on Friday, but on low volume. It's a bizarre little glimpse into the volatility of the market, amplified by the high-profile nature of Cypress' business. In head-knocking competition chiefly with Atmel (Nasdaq: ATML ) and Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN ) , Cypress chips vie for controlling the touch inputs of every smartphone and tablet computer today.
The company is sitting pretty with a record order backlog and strong book-to-bill ratio of 1.09. The third quarter is almost fully booked already and orders are spilling into the fourth quarter. In other words, the only reason to keep guidance on the low side is to avoid stumbling on unexpected macroeconomic issues. It shouldn't surprise you that Cypress exceeded each consensus earnings estimate since 2009, given the tendency to set the bar low.
Looking further ahead, Cypress also just announced a couple of significant deals with smartphone leader Samsung and mobile processor expert NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) , in both cases related to Android products. So Cypress continues riding that mobile computing wave with as much gusto as audio specialist Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS ) or core processor technologist ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH ) .
A thumbs-up rating of this five-star CAPS stock is helping me beat the market in our cash-free market simulation, cementing my All-Star status. Cypress can do the same for you, or you could simply add the stock to your watchlist and wait for a better entry point. Just be careful -- that hoped-for discount may never come.