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2 Apple Inc. Supplier Stocks to Watch

By Ashraf Eassa - Updated Feb 7, 2018 at 12:28PM

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These two Apple suppliers are worth watching this earnings season.

See the highlights from Apple's fourth-quarter earnings report.

Apple (AAPL -0.29%) is expected to report its financial results on Aug. 1. Since Apple's business is highly dependent on the sales performance of the iPhone, and given the persistent (and credible) reports that Apple's upcoming iPhone ramp-up will be later this year than in previous years, I'm expecting this quarter's results not to be all that interesting. 

Moreover, the financial guidance that Apple gives for the following quarter -- considering this delayed ramp-up -- probably won't be too interesting, either. 

Apple's App Store displayed on three iPhones.

Image source: Apple.

In fact, several analysts have been cutting their estimates for the tail end of the current fiscal year (FY 2017) in anticipation of a pushout of new iPhone shipments into the following fiscal year. 

Although I'm not that excited about Apple's upcoming earnings report, I am interested in seeing what major Apple component suppliers have to report, since they need to be shipping components in support of the new iPhone models.

Here are two Apple suppliers that I'll be keeping an eye on: Broadcom (AVGO -1.07%) and Cirrus Logic (CRUS -1.15%).

Broadcom

Broadcom supplies several chips for Apple's current iPhone models, such as Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combination chips, touch-screen controllers, and various radio frequency (RF) chips to support the Wi-Fi and cellular subsystems of the iPhones. 

This year, though, Broadcom says that it's expecting a surge in dollar content inside of the upcoming iPhone models -- we're talking a 40% generation-over-generation boost.

Although Broadcom is a well-diversified business, its wireless business unit depends heavily on sales to Apple. So when the company reports its earnings results (likely sometime in the next month or so), investors should be able to glean some insights into the shape and magnitude of the upcoming iPhone ramp-up. 

Cirrus Logic

Cirrus Logic is a longtime Apple supplier, deriving the bulk of its revenue from sales of audio chips to Apple (78% during the company's most recent quarter). Cirrus Logic also supplies audio chips for Apple's iPad and Mac products, though the shipment volumes of those devices aren't anywhere close to those of the iPhone (and the audio content in an iPhone versus, say, the content in an iPad or a Mac likely isn't too different).

Cirrus Logic should be able to grow its Apple-related business if either one (or both) of the following things happen: Apple sees iPhone shipment growth while keeping its audio content from Cirrus Logic flat to up, or Apple uses more advanced (and, one would hope, more expensive) audio chips from Cirrus Logic in a flat-to-up iPhone unit shipment environment. 

I think the unit shipment story for Cirrus Logic will be pretty good this year since the new iPhone models seem poised to do well. What I'll be looking to see is if Cirrus Logic has managed to increase its dollar content per device, something that could become clear when it next reports its earnings results on Aug. 2 -- a day after Apple reports its own. 

Since its business is so heavily levered to Apple, Cirrus' initial shipment volumes could also give investors a hint as to what Apple's build plans for the coming iPhone cycle ultimately are. 

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Broadcom Ltd and Cirrus Logic. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$164.87 (-0.29%) $0.48
Cirrus Logic, Inc. Stock Quote
Cirrus Logic, Inc.
CRUS
$84.79 (-1.15%) $0.99
Broadcom Limited Stock Quote
Broadcom Limited
AVGO
$545.53 (-1.07%) $-5.91

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