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The Next Hot 5G Stock You Can Buy

By Harsh Chauhan – May 21, 2019 at 7:28AM

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This chipmaker stands to win big on multiple fronts from the advent of the next-generation wireless network.

Qorvo's (QRVO -1.28%) fiscal 2019 fourth-quarter results suggest it could be the next hot stock set to take advantage of the coming development of fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks.

Heading into its quarterly report, the company faced a ton of headwinds, especially in the mobile market. 5G was Qorvo stock's only hope of satisfying Wall Street's thirst for growth, and it didn't disappoint.

Hand drawing stock chart.

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Qorvo's mobile turnaround has arrived

Analysts were originally looking for flat revenue and lower earnings from Qorvo, but the actual numbers blew everyone away. The chipmaker's adjusted net income of $1.22 per share was a big improvement over the year-ago period's number of $1.07 per share and well ahead of the $1.06-per-share analyst estimate.

Revenue increased slightly to $681 million, topping Wall Street's estimate of $670.6 million. But the guidance for the coming quarter was more impressive, because Qorvo now calls for revenue of $790 million and adjusted earnings of $1.30 per share. Again, the benchmark set by the company is substantially ahead of the consensus estimates of $1.05 per share in earnings on $694 million in revenue.

For comparison, Qorvo had delivered $693 million in revenue and $0.96 per share in earnings during the same period a year ago. So Qorvo is all set to deliver double-digit earnings growth in the quarter containing June, which is usually a slow one for companies selling smartphone-centric chips to customers such as Apple, before a ramp-up arrives in the second half when new devices are typically launched.

Just a few months ago, mobile weakness and Apple's problems were hurting Qorvo. That wasn't surprising, since the mobile business supplies two-thirds of Qorvo's revenue. But what is surprising is that the chipmaker improved its top and bottom lines and also issued solid guidance even though global smartphone sales plunged in the first quarter of the year.

So what supercharged Qorvo's growth all of a sudden? The obvious answer is the early deployment of 5G networks and the upcoming launch of compatible smartphones. I had predicted in my earnings preview that Qorvo's mobile business could turn around, because numerous 5G smartphones are expected to hit the market this year.

As it turns out, Qorvo has started sampling chips and scoring design wins for 5G smartphones, as management pointed out on the latest earnings conference call. But more importantly, Qorvo's 5G opportunity transcends smartphones.

The 5G party is just getting started

The deployment of 5G wireless networks will not only boost Qorvo's mobile business but also help to bolster its infrastructure and defense products (IDP) segment.

Qorvo is already witnessing a ramp-up in its IDP business thanks to an increase in demand from 5G base stations. But this spike is likely just the beginning.

That's because Qorvo sees the deployment of 5G increasing its total addressable market in the IDP business to between $600 million and $700 million. The IDP business generated $238 million in revenue last quarter, showing the potential upside.

The company expects its base station business to double this fiscal year. What's more, Qorvo claims that the base station business could grow another 50% in the next fiscal year. So the advent of 5G networks will increase demand for Qorvo's base station-centric chips, paving the way for solid growth in the IDP business.

Valued attractively

At first glance, Qorvo looks expensive right now with a trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of more than 72, but a forward PE ratio of just 13 indicates that its earnings are expected to increase substantially over the next year. It won't be surprising to see Qorvo's earnings improving over the next year thanks to 5G-driven gains.

Assuming that Qorvo continues to execute well and taps the 5G opportunity successfully on multiple fronts, the stock can deliver more upside via increased earnings power. Qorvo looks like a good 5G bet right now because it is cheaper than the industry-average multiple of 19.5 on a forward P/E basis, giving investors a cost-effective way to take advantage of next-gen wireless networks.

Harsh Chauhan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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