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Bull of the Day: KLA-Tencor (KLAC)

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Headquartered in Milpitas, CA, KLA-Tencor (KLAC - Free Report) is one of the largest semiconductor equipment companies in the world. They provide process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor, LED and related nanoelectronics industries.

The company was founded in 1997 with the merger of two companies--KLA Instruments and Tencor Instruments. They have customer operations and service centers around the world.

Impressive Results

The company reported third-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings of $1.62 per share, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.54. Revenues surged more than 28% year-over-year to $913.8 million, also better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate.  

"KLA-Tencor delivered excellent results in Q3 of fiscal 2017, thanks to another outstanding performance by our employees in executing the Company's growth strategies in an exciting and dynamic period for the Company, and for the semiconductor industry," said the CEO.

Returning Capital to Shareholders

The company continues to boost shareholders’ value through dividends. They have a track record of consistently increasing their dividend payout with the growth in free cash flow. They have maintained a payout ratio of ~40 to 50%. The stock has a dividend yield of 2.11% currently.

Rising Estimates

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for FY 2017 and FY 2018 have surged to $5.88 per share and $6.62 per share respectively, up from $5.71 and $6.29, before the results.The company has an impressive record of beating estimates; they have missed only twice in the past 20 quarters.

The Bottom Line

Semiconductors have outperformed the broader market as well as most other segments of the technology sector over the past few months. “Semiconductor Equipment - Wafer Fabrication” industry is currently ranked 4 out of 265 Zacks Industries (top 2%). With rising demand from many high growth areas, this outperformance is likely to continue.

Lam Research had agreed to acquire KLAC for $10.6 billion but the two companies had to abandon their merger plans last October after the Justice Department expressed serious concerns on antitrust grounds. However, most analysts are optimistic on the company’s prospects as a stand-alone entity.

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Disclosure: I own KLAC in the Income Investor portfolio.

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