Slope of Hope Blog Posts

This is the heart and soul of the web site. Here we have literally tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. You can also click on any category icon to see posts tagged with that particular category.

Semiconductor Canaries: Chirp, Warble… Soon a Croak and Silence?

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In light of earnings reactions in the Semiconductor Equipment sector, it’s time for an update of a theme we have had in play since November, 2017

The canary is no longer chirping in a healthy manner and the economy’s coal mine has a toxic gas leak. While the recent Lam Research (LRCX) earnings report was pretty good and there were positive aspects to that of Applied Materials (AMAT), these highly cyclical companies that have been at the front end of the entire economic cycle that had its beginnings in 2013 are showing signs of wear.

Business is still good but when you are talking about cyclical leaders, it is growth rate that matters. I have read article after article touting strong current business and future drivers that will change the typical Semiconductor cycle as next generation Fabs are needed for ever more dynamic specialty chips for higher-end devices.

Applied Materials Slides After Softer Q3 Forecasts on Weaker Smartphone Demand

“Smartphone sales have been below expectations, particularly for high-end models, and in response, both semiconductor and display suppliers have made adjustments to their capacity planning,” CEO Gary Dickerson told investors on a conference call. “With inventory rebalance that we’re seeing from smartphones, we’re going to see a sequential dip in the Q3. But from our guidance into Q4, you can see that it recovers nicely into Q4.”

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About Those Medical Device Companies

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Yesterday we took a look at the bullish SYK breakout and the bullish chart of the Medical Device iShares (IHI). So here is the thing; bullish stocks are one thing and sound business is another. Many of these device/equipment companies have long-standing and sound businesses.

But yet another thing is valuation. In combing through IHI’s holdings today, looking at charts, business specifics and P/E & P/S I am struck by how over valued and over played the sector is by the suits, who evidently have read my many assertions that the sector is stable during economic soft patches. Just kidding, but… Wall Street loves themselves some medical device companies these days. IHI’s holdings… (more…)

Four Biotechs Breaking Out

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Biotech stocks we follow were big movers Tuesday, and here are four to watch for continued upside.

REGENXBIO Inc. (RGNX) exploded up 18%, or $5.95, to close at $37.40 on very heavy volume of 1.2 million shares traded Tuesday. That is more than three times its average volume. The move was a follow-through from Monday’s surge that came on news that business partner, AveXis (AVXS), also in the gene therapy space, is being acquired by Novartis.  Next target is $40-41.

Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc. (TNDM) tore up 22%, or $1.29, closing at $7.01 on huge volume of 6.6 million shares traded. That is more than four times its average volume. The move came as the medical device company announced preliminary financial results indicating insulin pump shipments increased by 56 percent and sales by 42 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared the first quarter of 2017.  Having moved up with high velocity, the stock has appreciated a whopping 89% in value in the last three weeks. On March 23, Robert W. Baird upgraded the stock from neutral to outperform with a price target lifted from $3 to $7.  Price is at the top of its channel, so expect a potential short-term pullback. Next target: $8.50. (more…)

Semi Canary Still Chirping, But He’s Gonna Croak in 2018

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Since January 2013 we have been using the worldwide Semiconductor Equipment industry as a leader within the Semiconductor sector, which is an economic cyclical leader itself. That month we noted a positive move in Equipment bookings, which became a (3 month) trend that spring. This trend was used to project positive economic signals to come.

Through some turbulence in 2014 and 2015 the sector has remained on ‘economic up’ along with our cross reference indicator, the Palladium/Gold ratio right up to the current time as the economic Canary in a Coal Mine has kept on chirping.

But on November 21, two days before the sector topped I derisively poked at the mainstream media for hyping the Semiconductor Equipment sector with its bold headlineFund manager looks beyond ‘FAANG’ stocks and finds even bigger winners for 2018. Talk about eyeball harvesting and greed stimulation. (more…)