Monday, April 02, 2007

Calls of Note Part 2

- JP Morgan notes that last week they made a bottom call on Lam Research's (NASDAQ:LRCX) shares suggesting that an upside revision to C2H07 shipment guidance would likely be a major upside catalyst for LRCX shares, most likely in the July earnings season, but it could begin to materialize in the April earnings season. Firm now thinks that a sharp and potentially sustainable recovery in Flash pricing, as a prelude to improved Flash fundamentals thus future capex growth, is likely to be a positive catalyst as well.

Lam is more leveraged to memory in general and Flash in particular given its success penetrating and holding share at the major memory vendors. Flash price weakness contributed to the recent underperformance of LRCX shares and is likely to drive stock leadership as Flash fundamentals improve.

There is no doubt in their minds that Flash will be the biggest driver of wafer fab equipment demand growth over the next five+ years and they like Lam's exposure. The firm also thinks the company's share gain and margin expansion are sustainable, but the stock seems to be discounting an implosion in both, which they see as highly unlikely.

This week, Samsung Semiconductor President Chang-Gyu Hwang stated at a Mobile Solutions forum in Taiwan that he expects a "severe shortage" of Flash devices in C2H07 as portable
applications such the iPhone, high density 3G players, and handsets with built-in memory drive demand.

Reiterates Overweight. LRCX trades at 10.5x JPM's unchanged C2007 GAAP EPS est. of $4.52 vs. universe average of 16.7x.

Notablecalls: Looks like JPM's intial call didn't generate the buy interest they expected (See Archives), so they are trying again. Think the points made (coupled with the strong wording) may generate some further buy interest in LRCX. Mr. Hwang's comments regarding a severe shortage of Flash devices will likely be circling the desks today.

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