Citigroup has named
Applied Materials as its top chip pick for next year, with
Lam Research and
Nvidia rounding out the bank’s top three stocks in the semiconductor sector in 2022.
The bank is now favoring semiconductor capital equipment companies, which supply devices and components used in the production of computer chips. That is because technical advancements and government incentives could see annual spending on equipment hit $100 billion through 2025, a team at Citi said Monday.
Applied Materials (ticker: AMAT) is the best-exposed equipment pick for 3-D devices as well as heterogeneous computing, which describes systems that use multiple processors, according to Citi. That is to say nothing of government spending megatrends, with government incentives being driven by securing semiconductor intellectual property and supply chains.
“Design complexity and the migration to 3-D structures along with innovations in semiconductor materials will likely generate significant changes and opportunities for material and equipment suppliers,” the Citi analysts said.
Applied Materials, which analyst Atif Malik rates as Buy with a target price of $175, ticks all the boxes, according to Citi. The stock, which was previously the bank’s number-three pick, is currently trading around $145, implying some 21% upside.
“Sustained government backed spending could help to keep semiconductor equipment spend at elevated levels in the next two-three years and perhaps limit a broader market cyclical pullback,” the analysts added.
Lam Research (LRCX) is Citi’s No. 2 pick for 2022, up from sixth place, in large part because of its dominance in flash memory, which is a market expected to grow rapidly as adoption of cloud computing increases. Lam is rated as Buy with a target price of $750. Trading around $655 currently, that implies 15% upside.
Nvidia, a leader in graphics processing units, was bumped up to Citi’s No. 3 spot from the fourth position. Nvidia isn’t only poised to benefit from a GPU product cycle next year, but is also a “secular winner” on the metaverse theme, Citi said.
Bullishness on Nvidia comes even as Citi, like many others, views its deal for chip designer Arm as unlikely to come through. Rated as Buy with a target price of $350, Citi implies some 20% upside on the stock based on its near $290 price Monday.
Marvell Technology (MRVL) was bumped from the number-one spot to the fourth position after a strong stock performance in the latest quarter.
KLA Corporation (KLAC), which was previously Citi’s number-two pick, is now in the fifth position after a similar stock outperformance.
Applied Materials was down 0.9% Monday, with Lam Research 1.2% lower and Nvidia falling 4.9%.
Write to Jack Denton at [email protected]
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