Applied Materials (AMAT -1.70%) stock price is down 42% in 2022 thanks to a mix of operational problems, including a shortage of components, as well as the overall gloom in the stock market related to the troubled economy. The stock is also down because the semiconductor equipment supplier's fiscal 2022 second-quarter results (for the three months ended on May 1) were not up to the mark.
Applied Materials' year-over-year revenue growth of 12% last quarter to $6.25 billion and non-GAAP earnings growth of just 13% to $1.85 per share were far cries from the terrific growth it clocked last fiscal year. Its guidance suggested more of the same as Applied Materials is finding it difficult to source components to complete shipments of its machines.
Clearly, Applied Materials is facing some short-term challenges. But savvy investors should be paying more attention to the fact that the company is in the process of solving a major problem -- the global semiconductor shortage. If it does, the sharp stock price decline presents a buying opportunity. Let's see how it's solving the problem and what it could mean down the road for the stock.
Applied Materials' slowdown should be temporary
Analysts expect Applied Materials' fiscal 2022 revenue to increase just 10% to $25.4 billion, followed by a similar performance in 2023. Its earnings are expected to increase 9% this fiscal year and 17% in fiscal 2023 (the fiscal year ends Oct. 31). Of course, those projections are nowhere close to Applied Materials' fiscal 2021 performance, when it reported a 34% increase in sales to $23 billion and a 64% spike in adjusted earnings to $6.84 per share.
But the company's backlog of orders and the consistently robust demand for semiconductor manufacturing equipment amid the growing deployment of chips in a wide range of industries tell us that Applied Materials could regain its mojo. Management points out that its robust backlog of orders -- which was worth $8 billion at the end of the fiscal first quarter and grew in fiscal Q2 as well -- gives it revenue visibility going into 2023 and beyond.
As it turns out, Applied Materials' customers are busy securing the supply of semiconductor manufacturing equipment for 2023 already. That's not surprising, as growing demand for silicon across various industries is leading foundries and chipmakers to buy more equipment to enhance their capacity.
For instance, the global average of semiconductor content in a vehicle is now worth $600, which is double 2015 levels. Meanwhile, 5G smartphones reportedly carry 40% more radio-frequency (RF) chip content than 4G devices. Such catalysts explain why spending on semiconductor manufacturing equipment is expected to hit $260 billion by 2030, according to a third-party estimate, which is double this year's estimate of $129 billion.
The bottom line is that the secular growth of Applied Materials' end market and the company's relationships with major foundries such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Samsung, and Intel, which are going to spend billions of dollars on upgrading their manufacturing capacities, put it in a solid position to accelerate its long-term growth.
So it wouldn't be surprising to see Applied Materials' earnings grow at a faster pace compared to analysts' estimate of 14% annual growth for the next five years, and that could send the stock higher. However, there is another way Applied Materials can help investors make money.
There is a nice dividend on offer
Applied Materials sports a dividend yield of 1.14%. While that may not be very high, it is worth noting that its yield is slightly higher than the Nasdaq-100's average of 1.03%. What's more, Applied Materials has increased its dividend for five years running. Its latest dividend increase came in March this year when the company approved an 8.3% hike in the quarterly dividend payout.
More importantly, Applied Materials' dividend appears to be safe, as it has a forward dividend payout ratio of just 11.7%. A low payout ratio also gives management room to increase its dividend further in the future, especially considering that Applied Materials' earnings are expected to head higher in the long run.
In the end, Applied Materials investors can likely make money from the stock through a healthy mix of price upside and dividends. That's why buying this semiconductor stock looks like a no-brainer, as it is trading at just 12 times trailing earnings, a big discount to the Nasdaq-100's average earnings multiple of 25.