The semiconductor industry has been red hot this year, up 16.5% as a whole versus 4% for the S&P 500. Top industry players like Micron Technology (MU - Free Report) and Nvidia (NVDA - Free Report) have gotten the lion’s share of the attention from investors – and rightfully so as they have performed even better than the industry.
If we consider the enormous scope of the industry and the vast number of products and manufacturing processes necessary to produce all the electronic products we use every single day, it makes sense to look deeper – for the smaller companies who make the products that underpin the semiconductor industry.
Tokyo Electron LTD (TOELY - Free Report) produces semiconductor production equipment for a wide range of purposes including thermal processing, wafer preparation, corrective etching and, most notably, plasma etching used in the manufacture of flat-screen displays.
Founded in 1963, Tokyo Electron is rapidly growing sales, operating income and operating margins.
Expected to ear $3.81/share in 2018, an increase of 32% over 2017, Tokyo Electron is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and also carries a VGM score of “A”, with the highest ranking possible in Value, Growth and Momentum.
Tokyo Electron also pays $1.27 in annual dividends – a 2.75% yield.
CREE Inc (CREE - Free Report) has primarily been known as an LED lighting company, thanks especially to its deal to sell branded light bulb in Home Depot stores, but it actually manufacture a wide range of semiconductor products that increase the energy efficiency and performance of numerous electronic devices.
Once a high flyer due to brand recognition of its innovative, money-saving lighting products, CREE shares suffered in 2015-2017 as the home LED market became saturated with low-priced competition and CREE lost market share. Recently CREE has refocused its efforts to include more products outside the consumer arena, including electronic signs, electric vehicles, renewable energy and radar and satellite communications.
Earnings estimates are rising again and CREE is expected to post a profit of $0.16/share in 2018, up 45% in the past 90 days. CREE is a Zacks Rank #2 (BUY).
Vishay Intertechnology Inc (VSH - Free Report) is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of discrete semiconductors and passive electronic components. Its products are used in the computing, automotive, telecommunications, military technology and medical industries, among others.
Diverse product offerings add up to consistently growing profits at VSH. The Zacks Composite Earnings Estimate for 20118 is $1.78/share, up from $1.57 60 days ago and a 25% increase over 2017.
Vishay is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
In a hot industry, it can sometimes be easy to focus on the household names in the space, but savvy investors should also seek out the lesser-known small companies that form the backbone of the sector for potentially explosive earnings and share price growth
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