A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Lam Research (LRCX). Shares have added about 29.6% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.
Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Lam Research due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.
Lam Research Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates
Lam Research reported first-quarter fiscal 2023 non-GAAP earnings of $10.42 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9.2%. The figure increased 24.6% from the year-ago fiscal quarter’s reading.
Revenues improved 17.9% year over year to $5.07 billion. Further, the figure surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.89 billion.
Top-line growth was driven by strong momentum in both systems and customer support businesses.
Lam Research’s system revenues were $3.18 billion (62.7% of the total revenues), up 8.8% from the year-ago fiscal quarter’s figure.
In the Customer Support Business Group, revenues for the reported quarter were $1.89 billion (37.3%), up 37.2% year-ago fiscal quarter’s number.
Solid execution and improving supply-chain conditions remained tailwinds. LRCX remains optimistic about its technological advancements and manufacturing efficiency.
However, the imposition of new export regulations on Chinese chip companies remains a major headwind. The export curbs are expected to hurt the wafer fabrication equipment (WFE) spending in the remainder of 2022 and 2023.
For 2022, the WFE spending is estimated to be in the low $90-billion range. The same is anticipated to fall more than 20% in 2023 from the 2022 level.
Regions in Detail
China, Korea and Taiwan accounted for 30%, 17% and 22% of Lam Research’s total revenues for the fiscal first quarter, respectively. Additionally, Japan, Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe accounted for 9%, 11%, 6% and 5%, respectively.
The non-GAAP gross margin was 46%, flat with the year-ago fiscal quarter’s level.
Non-GAAP operating expenses were $647.2 million, up 10.4% from the prior-year fiscal quarter’s reading. As a percentage of revenues, the figure contracted 80 basis points (bps) from the year-earlier fiscal quarter’s level to 12.8%.
The non-GAAP operating margin was 33.3%, expanding 90 bps from the year-ago fiscal quarter’s level.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
As of Sep 25, 2022, cash and cash equivalents, and short-term investments increased to $4.38 billion from $3.65 billion as of Jun 26, 2022.
Cash flow from operating activities was $1.2 billion for the reported quarter, significantly up from $443.9 million in the previous fiscal quarter. Capital expenditure was $140 million in first-quarter fiscal 2023 compared with $125.7 million in fourth-quarter fiscal 2022.
In the reported quarter, Lam Research paid out dividends of $206 million and repurchased shares worth $110 million.
For second-quarter fiscal 2023, LRCX expects revenues of $5.1 billion (+/- $300 million).
The non-GAAP gross margin is projected at 44.5% (+/-1%), while the non-GAAP operating margin is expected to be 31.5% (+/-1%).
Non-GAAP earnings are projected to be $10.00 (+/- 75 cents) per share on a diluted share count of 136 million.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
In the past month, investors have witnessed an upward trend in fresh estimates.
At this time, Lam Research has an average Growth Score of C, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a D. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of C. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
Estimates have been broadly trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. Notably, Lam Research has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.
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