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Why Shares of Synaptics Jumped Today

By Timothy Green - Jan 12, 2018 at 12:26PM

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An analyst sees growth ahead, driven by the company's new in-display fingerprint sensors.

What happened

Shares of Synaptics (SYNA -0.69%), a provider of fingerprint sensors and other human interface products, jumped on Friday after the company received an analyst upgrade. This comes a few days after a smartphone manufacturer unveiled the first phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor, which uses Synaptics' technology. Synaptics stock was up about 13.5% at 11:55 a.m. EST.

So what

Keybanc analyst John Vinh upgraded Synaptics on Wednesday to overweight, the equivalent of a buy rating, and slapped a $60 price target on the stock. Vinh believes that Synaptics is more diversified than it's ever been, paving the way for growth over the next few years.

A rising stock chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

Vinh also pointed to Synaptics' in-display fingerprint sensor as a growth driver. The sensor was featured in a smartphone unveiled by Vivo at CES. The tech only works with OLED displays, so the sensors will likely be limited to high-end phones for the time being. But OLED displays should become more common over the next few years.

Even after Friday's surge, shares of Synaptics are still a full $10 below Vinh's new price target.

Now what

One risk for Synaptics is that smartphone manufacturers will bypass fingerprint sensors altogether and opt for facial recognition instead. Apple's iPhone X does exactly that, making it the first iPhone in years to not feature a fingerprint sensor.

Synaptics began mass producing its in-display sensors in December, promising that they'll be twice as fast as 3D facial recognition. If that claim holds up, this could become a standard feature in flagship phones beginning this year.

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