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  • (0:30) - Tech Rally Fades: Buying Opportunity or Value Trap?
  • (4:40) - Tracey's Top Semiconductor Stock Picks
  • (12:00) - Takeaways From Recent Sell Off
  • (14:15) - Episode Roundup: Podcast@Zacks.com

Welcome to Episode #71 of the Value Investor Podcast

Every week, Tracey Ryniec, the editor of Zacks Value Investor portfolio service, shares some of her top value investing tips and stock picks.

Things were running smoothly for the technology stocks until December hit. Suddenly, investors and traders started selling the big technology names, including the FANG stocks, and putting the money into other sectors like retail and financials.

The hardest hit technology industry, however, has been the semiconductors.

They’ve been on a tear in 2017. The semiconductor ETFs are up about 36% year-to-date, and that’s even after the recent weakness. Some individual names are up over 100% in the last 12 months.

Is this just profit taking and has it created a buying opportunity for value investors?

Or is there something else lurking below the surface that could lead these stocks down the road of being value traps?

Definition of a Value Trap

Remember, a lot of stocks can look cheap. They may have low P/E ratios or the shares may have taken a dive, giving the illusion of cheapness.

What investors need to look at is the “E” part of the equation.

What are earnings doing? Are they on the rise or are analysts cutting them?

A value trap is a stock that looks cheap but which has declining earnings so it’s not really as cheap as it seems.

Tracey decided to take a look at 5 big semiconductor names to see if they were value stocks or value traps.

5 Semiconductor Stocks: Are They Values or a Trap?

1.     Nvidia(NVDA - Free Report) has fallen over 10% since the semiconductor sell off began but it hasn’t been a “cheap” stock in some time. Even with the sell off it still trades with a forward P/E of 45.2. However, for growth investors, is the big earnings growth story still intact?

2.    Micron(MU - Free Report) actually reports earnings on Dec 19 so The Street will get an update on what the outlook is shortly. Last quarter, the company was still bullish on fiscal 2018 demand. Will they be this time? Shares are still cheap, with a forward P/E of only 5.2.

3.    Applied Materials(AMAT - Free Report) has fallen over 12% since the semiconductor sell off began. And while one estimate has been cut for fiscal 2018 in the last 60 days, 9 have been raised in that time period. It still has attractive valuations with a forward P/E of just 12.6.

4.    Lam Research(LRCX - Free Report) has gotten hit for a 15% pullback on the industry worries. That haven’t been any analyst cuts to the fiscal 2018 estimates while 6 estimates were raised over the last 2 months. It has a forward P/E of only 12.2.

5.    Intel(INTC - Free Report) didn’t see as big of gains in 2017 as others but it also hasn’t sold off as sharply. Shares were down just about 3% on the semiconductor sell off. Analysts continue to be bullish with 14 estimates raised for both 2017 and 2018 while none have been cut.

The semiconductor industry is diverse. Not all semis are created equal so investors need to do their research on each company.

What else should you know about the semiconductors?

Listen to this week’s podcast to find out.

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