When analysts speak, markets move. Their notes often become self-fulfilling prophecies, at least in the short term. The analyst firm's clients make investments based on these research notes, and then those voices echo across the Street.
Sometimes the analyst is wrong, and the ripples of the latest upgrade or downgrade disappear like words written in running water. And sometimes the analyst action makes sense, with long-lasting effects.
Today, Jefferies upgraded Advanced Micro Devices
Turning 180 degrees
AMD is listed in Jefferies' CAPS page as a longtime "underperform" call and easily the most pessimistic semiconductor call in the firm's active portfolio. This is a whole new direction in the company's AMD coverage. So what's the fresh insight that drove Jefferies to this dramatic change of heart?
There's no single massive catalyst here, but rather a combination of factors. The firm notes that AMD is trading at a very low valuation, comparable to the enterprise value to sales ratios seen when AMD buckled under a $4 billion debt load. But that debt is long gone, reducing the risk of owning these shares. Consequently, AMD should trade at higher multiples nowadays.
The value angle is supported by market share gains against industry giant Intel
All in all, the firm's verdict is that AMD's risk/reward ratio looks terrific. Jefferies is not wrong there.
The other side of the coin
But I do find it curious that the firm turns bullish on a PC chip maker while a different analyst at the same firm slashed his outlook for the PC market as a whole.
Jefferies cut its earnings estimates for both Dell
All things considered, I think that both halves of Jefferies are onto something. I agree that AMD is undervalued, but I also agree that the PC market is risky. I'd be comfortable owning AMD at these prices but you might sleep better at night after stocking your portfolio with post-PC alternatives instead. Check out these three hidden winners of the iPhone, iPad, and Android revolution, for example.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Intel and writing covered calls on Dell. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. We have a disclosure policy.