RBC Slams Semiconductor Equipment Stocks With Downgrades

Both AMAT and LRCX have been pulling back in recent weeks

Managing Editor
Jun 13, 2018 at 11:58 AM
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Semiconductor equipment specialists Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) and Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX) are making notable moves today, after brokerage firm RBC downgraded both tech names to "sector perform." Below we will take a look at the bear notes, and see how AMAT and LRCX have been faring on the charts.

AMAT Downgraded on Short-Term Worries

Early this morning brokerage firm RBC downgraded Applied Materials stock to "sector perform" from "outperform," and slashed its price target to $55 from $64. The firm cited concerns towards AMAT's OLED display revenue in the near term.

AMAT has has been trending lower since its March 12 record high of $62.40, last seen right near its year-to-date breakeven point. Applied Materials stock has now pulled back to its rising 320-day moving average. This trendline has recently acted as a level of support for the shares, which were last seen up 1.3% at $51.50. 

Daily Chart of AMAT with 320MA Fixed

This bear note is a rarity for the stock, as 14 out of 17 firms following AMAT currently sport "buy" or "strong buy" recommendations. Further, the equity's average 12-month price target stands at $67.32, a more than 30% premium to current levels. 

Lastly, now may be a good time to target near-term AMAT options. The tech stock's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) is just 29%, ranking in the bottom 14th percentile of its annual range. This low ranking suggests there are lower-than-normal volatility expectations priced in at the moment. 

Lam Research Suffers $35 Price-Target Cut at RBC

Lam Research stock received a downgrade at RBC to "sector perform" from "outperform" earlier as well, alongside a price-target cut to $210 from $245. Similar to its sector peer, LRCX has pulled back from its highest earlier in the year, up just 2% year-to-date. Longer-term, Lam Research stock has enjoyed support from the 50-week moving average, which has contained two pullbacks since early February.

Weekly Chart of LRCX With 50 Week MA

Also sporting a low SVI, Lam Research stock holds a ranking of 31%, in the 17th percentile of its annual range. This ranking suggests that extremely low volatility expectations are being priced into near-term options. What's more, LRCX's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) of 99 reveals a strong tendency to make moves bigger than the options market was expecting during the past year.

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