At The Motley Fool, we poke plenty of fun at Wall Street analysts and their endless cycle of upgrades, downgrades, and "initiating coverage at neutral." Today, we'll show you whether those bigwigs actually know what they're talking about. To help, we've enlisted Motley Fool CAPS to track the long-term performance of Wall Street's best and worst.
The sky is falling
Another day, another downgrade for Skyworks Solutions
According to the analysts at Deutsche Bank, Skyworks is now totally out of the 3G version of Apple's
Deutsche isn't totally giving up on Skyworks. While it's no longer advising others to buy Skyworks, Deutsche's analyst shares Sterne Agee's opinion that the company will win enough business from Android customers such as HTC, Samsung, and Motorola Mobility
So why was Deutsche downgrading at $23 yesterday? And why did investors sell the stock off even more?
Time to panic?
For the life of me, I don't get why you wouldn't want to buy a stock that costs only $23, but that you thought was worth $30. I also don't know why you'd take advice from Deutsche, which has been wrong about Skyworks two times out of three, and gets the majority of its semiconductor picks wrong. Furthermore, I don't agree with Deutsche that Skyworks is worth anything close to $30. In my opinion, neither Sterne nor Deutsche downgraded the stock far enough.
When last I wrote about the stock, Skyworks was selling for 23 times earnings, and 30 times its much weaker free cash flow number. At the time, I argued that Skyworks' projected 16% long-term growth rate was too slow to support such multiples, and that the stock should fall. It's now down 6% from its June 3 closing price, and down 13% from before the Sterne downgrade -- but even these losses aren't enough to make the stock look cheap.
As of today, Skyworks still costs 21 times earnings, and 27 times free cash flow. If analysts' estimates hold firm, these prices still look pricey -- but could get even worse. As more and more analysts come around to Deutsche's and Sterne's point of view, I actually suspect we'll see growth estimates for Skyworks start dropping back to Earth. Without the iPhone tailwind to lift it, a Fool has to wonder whether Skyworks even deserves even the 16% growth rate it's pegged for.
Instead of Skyworks, then, I'm going to give you the same advice I offered last time around. Rather than buy one of the semiconductor makers that supply the iPhone, just go straight to the source, and buy the company that's playing its semi-suppliers like a fiddle: Apple. Thanks to this month's sell-off, Apple is nearly 10% cheaper than it cost at the end of May. At 15 times trailing earnings, with an even cheaper P/FCF ratio, and with 21% estimated growth in its future, Apple offers a much better bargain than Skyworks.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own (nor is he short) shares of any company named above,but The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and TriQuint Semiconductor. Also, Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a bull call spread position on Apple. You can find Rich on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 449 out of more than 170,000 members. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.