Shares of KLA (NASDAQ:KLAC) rose 99.1% in 2019, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The semiconductor equipment formerly known as KLA-Tencor crushed Wall Street's expectations in every earnings report published last year, adding a little more weight to the reports in February and October.
The maker of testing tools used in the process of making semiconductors holds a huge market share in that particular niche, controlling over 50% of the revenues in chip-testing tools. That market position can amplify the swings of the broader semiconductor space, which is generally regarded to head into clearer waters in 2020. From memory chips to 5G wireless components, demand for cutting-edge technologies should surge over the next couple of years thanks to the game-changing rollout of 5G networks.
Analysts in the semiconductor equipment space tend to prefer KLA over other chip-related stocks, often highlighting the company's unchallenged market share. That being said, KLA's stock is trading at a premium to other semi equipment makers after doubling in 2019, fetching a princely 42 times free cash flows and 10.3 times book value. Even the king of the hill must take a break every now and then, and this stock may be due for a correction someday soon.