Management raised second-quarter earnings guidance from the $0.38-$0.41 per-share range to $0.48-$0.50 per share. It said royalty reports for the use of its technology indicate shipments of 37 million handsets, as compared to the 32 million it originally expected.
Qualcomm specializes in code division multiple access (CDMA) technology for cell phones, and holds related patents. CDMA is used in phones provided by Sprint PCS
Strong demand for CDMA-enabled phones in Asia was another upbeat indicator. For example, management singled out Japan's second-largest telecom provider, KDDI, as an example. That company had 75% of its wireless users, or about 11.8 million people, using CDMA technology in December. (Japan's an important gauge, as that country's been an active ground for rapid adoption and reliance on wireless gadgets for all manners of communication -- including Web surfing -- much more so than in the U.S. so far.)
Last month, Fool contributor Dave Mock covered the fuzzy reception Qualcomm received from investors over its first-quarter numbers, when they yawned over solid earnings and worried about upcoming seasonal weakness. Today certainly seems more cause for celebration, considering that weakness turned into a windfall.
Other than Asia and number portability, what's got everybody excited? In its most recent 10-K, the company cites International Data Corp. prognostications that by 2007, 625 million people using the Internet will be doing so by wireless gadgets, not computers. Qualcomm believes that shift will lead people to trade up functionality in their phones, providing another way it could garner long-term growth.
However, as much as there are some compelling possibilities for growth that investors are banking on, the stock's been riding high for a while based on this building enthusiasm. While today's change in guidance and a recent price of about $62.00 add up to a new forward P/E of 37 (compared to a trailing 12-month P/E of about 50), by traditional measures it's still a pretty high price to pay for wireless wonderment.
Are you thinking now is a great time to buy into Qualcomm? Or is it just too pricey for your blood? Talk it over with the Foolish gang on the Qualcomm discussion board.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.
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