What happened

Though it's already one of the largest players in the global semiconductor industry, shares of Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) notched a more than respectable gain of 17% through the first half of 2021, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. After a couple of difficult years because of the U.S.-China trade war followed by the start of the pandemic, global chip sales are on the rise this year -- and filling Texas Instruments' sails along the way.

So what

As for financial news, the company reported a 29% surge in revenue during the first quarter of 2021. Earnings per share were up 51% as the chip manufacturer got more efficient with higher utilization of its fab facilities.  

Someone in a lab suit holding a semiconductor.

Image source: Getty Images.

A worldwide shortage of chips is helping propel TI's sales higher right now, but don't attribute too much of this tech component leader's recent results to chance. It has positioned itself as a top supplier to the auto industry and supplies parts for a wide range of industrial, communications, and consumer electronics equipment. In fact, some of the hottest tech themes out there -- like vehicle electrification, autonomous driving functions, and 5G mobile networks -- are being enabled by the know-how of the folks at TI. That makes this stock a top play for those wanting to bet on fast-growing areas of the economy without needing to pick ultimate winners in nascent sectors like electric cars or 5G network equipment.  

Now what

TI is hardly the fastest-growing name in the chip industry, but what it lacks in growth it makes up for with steadily high profit margins. TI has a long-standing policy of returning all of its free cash flow to shareholders via its dividend (which currently yields 2.1% a year) and share repurchases (which boosts earnings per share over time).

Tech circuitry manufacturing can be a cyclical affair with periods of busts following on the heels of boom times. But TI is a proven long-term winner in this department and has turned a profit in good times and bad for nearly two decades. With demand for chips and other basic building blocks of technology only expected to rise in the next decade, this stock should be a top name for investors looking for a combination of stable growth and a little investment income.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.