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Morgan Stanley Upgrades NXP Semiconductor: 'We See A Stock Multiple With A Disproportionate Skew Higher'

Shanthi Rexaline

NXP Semiconductors NV (NASDAQ: NXPI), which is coming off a failed takeover bid from QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM), is a buy, according to Morgan Stanley.

The Analyst

Craig Hettenbach upgraded NXP from Equal-weight to Overweight and upped the price target from $99 to $114.

The Thesis

NXP shares have underperformed the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index by 102 percent and peers by 73 percent in the last three years, Hettenbach said in the Wednesday upgrade note. (See his track record here.)

Since then, the company has seen a structural improvement in margins along with capital allocation optionality, the analyst said. 

Notwithstanding the ongoing risks in the semiconductor cycle into the second half, Hettenbach said a number of company-specific elements — leaner distribution, levers to pull on margins and relative valuation after a period of significant underpeformance —make him constructive on NXP.

Given the semicycle risk, Hettenbach said he would recommend an opportunistic approach when adding to positions in NXP.

Morgan Stanley increased its target multiple by 2 times and said this multiple could prove conservative as margins expand.

"As the company executes on its strategy and investors regain confidence in the story, we see a stock multiple with a disproportionate skew higher." 

The Price Action

NXP shares were trading down by 0.19 percent to $95.28 at the time of publication Wednesday. 

Related Links:

NXP Semiconductors' Standalone Value Is 9, SunTrust Says In Downgrade

No Qualcomm? No Problem: NXP Semiconductors Is Still A 'King'

Latest Ratings for NXPI

Date Firm Action From To
Jun 2019 Upgrades Equal-Weight Overweight
Jun 2019 Upgrades Sell Hold
May 2019 Maintains Neutral Neutral

View More Analyst Ratings for NXPI
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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