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Jefferies Challenges Chip Bear: Five Top Stocks to Buy

Trey Thoelcke

As tablet sales have skyrocketed, sales of laptop and desktop personal computers (PCs) have slowed over the past couple of years. There is a bearish contingent on Wall Street that says that says the PC game is all but over, and top chip stocks are in trouble. The analysts at Jefferies say not so fast. In a new research report, they highlight positive PC commentary from the first quarter and believe that news is way under the radar for many investors. The Jefferies team is focused on companies with high capital return strategies or those beginning to enter capital return cycles.

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Here are five of the top chip stocks to buy at Jefferies.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) remains a top name to buy at Jefferies, and it may offer investors big upside. This is also one of the names that the Jefferies team thinks could benefit from a rebound in PC sales. The company posted strong $1.40 billion revenues this quarter, which although down 12% sequentially, the company achieved a 28% increase gain on a year-over-year basis. With chips in gaming consoles boosting sales, any PV rebound could be huge. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $6. The Thomson First Call consensus estimate is at $4.12. AMD closed Tuesday at $4.03 a share, so a move to the Jefferies target is a huge 50% gain for shareholders.

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Intel Corp. (INTC) is where the bull and bear tug-of-war is the strongest. Jefferies contents that the company's gross margins will not decline and that tablet microprocessor unit or MPU sales for both tablets and servers should continue to grow and be a strong component for overall sales. Investors are paid a very solid 3.4% dividend from the venerable chip giant. The Jefferies price objective is a very bullish $35, and the consensus target is $26.79. Intel closed Tuesday at $26.48.

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Micron Technology Inc. (MU) posted very solid earnings for the quarter, and the stock was down more than 15% in the recent sell-off, but has rallied back some. The company, which is a leader in DRAM chip sales and is one of the top Jefferies memory picks, has seen a nice streak of beating earnings estimates, especially when looking at the previous two reports. Micron has beaten estimates by at least 35% in both cases, suggesting it has a nice short-term history of crushing expectations. The Jefferies price target is $32, and the consensus target is $29.25. Micron closed Tuesday at $25.10.

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NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NXPI) is a company that fits perfectly into the Jefferies capital return cycle theme. The company recently announced that it is now the world's number one supplier for small-signal discretes. Building on its expertise in high performance mixed signal electronics, NXP is driving innovation in the automotive, identification and mobile industries, and in application areas including wireless infrastructure, lighting, health care, industrial, consumer tech and computing. The Jefferies price target is $72, and the consensus target is $69.47. Shares closed trading on Tuesday at $59.24.

SanDisk Corp. (SNDK) is another top stock that is rated Buy at Jefferies. SanDisk's quality, state-of-the-art solutions are at the heart of many of the world's largest data centers, and embedded in advanced smart phones, tablets and PCs. Sandisk also looks poised to continue being one of the top suppliers to Apple. With the iPhone 6 on the way, more strong earnings could be as well. Investors are paid a 1.1% dividend. The Jefferies price target is $95, and the consensus figure is at $89.41. The stock closed Tuesday at $84.66.

These top stocks to buy at Jefferies represent some of the best names for investors to be looking at now. They have multiple reasons to be owned, so investors can choose from a larger cap name that pays a solid dividend or go with mid cap for the huge storage play. Either way, they are solid addition to most portfolios with moderate to medium risk tolerance.

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