Earnings Preview: Qualcomm Q4 expected to be strong

Qualcomm (QCOM) is expected to report Q4 earnings after the market close on Wednesday, November 7, with a conference call scheduled for 4:45 pm ET. The consensus estimate is 82c for EPS and $4.67B for revenue, according to First Call. The whisper number is 83c. Analysts continue to be bullish on Qualcomm despite its weak Q3 results and guidance back in July. Guidance for Q4 calls for adjusted EPS 78c-84c on revenue of $4.45B-$4.85B. Qualcomm’s report comes at end of the earnings season, allowing the stock to be buffeted by the downbeat forecasts across the rest of the chip sector, from companies such as Intel (INTC), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Texas Instruments (TXN). One metric closely watched will be the company's projection for mobile-station modem, or MSM, chip shipments in the December quarter, as well as its forecast for the average selling price of 3G and 4G handsets — which affects the royalties for its licensing arm. Qualcomm's MSM, chips are used in certain models of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone -- including the newly launched iPhone 5, as well as other smartphones from companies such as Samsung (SSNLF), HTC, Nokia (NOK), Google (GOOG), Motorola (MOT) and others. Brean Capital expects strong Q4 results and guidance for the Dec.Q and FY guidance. The firm believes Qualcomm's Licensing, or QTL, business will be relatively in line for Q4, but will benefit from strength in high-end smartphones in September and December quarters. Given the current investor concerns on QCT margins and about Qualcomm's historical propensity to sandbag its FY guidance, Brean expects the stock to act favorably post-report.