2 Electronics Stocks to Watch From a Challenging Industry

The Zacks Electronics - Manufacturing Machinery industry is suffering from challenging macroeconomic conditions globally. Softness in the 3D NAND end-market has been a headwind. However, industry participants are benefiting from increased capital spending on high-performance computing, AI, mobility, augmented reality and virtual reality, advanced packaging, lithography and wet processing solutions by semiconductor manufacturers. The ongoing transformation in cloud computing is noteworthy. Entegris ENTG and Kulicke and Soffa Industries KLIC are gaining from the above-mentioned trends. These companies provide solutions to semiconductor manufacturers and OEMs. Strength in cloud & data centers, healthcare and automotive has been the key catalysts for these industry participants.

Industry Description

The Zacks Electronics - Manufacturing Machinery industry comprises companies that provide a range of solutions to address the needs of wafer processing facilities, as well as device packaging and test facilities, of semiconductor manufacturing processes. The solutions offered by the industry participants include thin-film processing systems, photonics, process-control tools (that perform macro defect inspections and metrology), metal-organic chemical vapor deposition, advanced packaging lithography, wet etch and clean, laser annealing and 3D wafer inspection systems. A few industry participants also offer micro-contamination control products and advanced material-handling solutions. Notably, contamination-free transportation, storage and delivery of materials have gained immense significance in recent times.

3 Trends Shaping the Future of the Electronics Industry

Miniaturization Enhances Prospects: Industry participants are benefiting from the ongoing transition in semiconductor manufacturing technology. The demand for advanced packaging, which enables the miniaturization of electronic products, remains strong. The consistent shift to smaller dimensions and the rapid adoption of new device architecture like FinFET transistors and 3D-NAND, along with the increasing utilization of new manufacturing materials to increase transistor and bit density, are driving the demand for solutions provided by the industry players. Moreover, the emergence of techniques like wafer-level packaging is driving the need for a high-purity manufacturing environment free of contaminants. The rising demand for clean processing, as well as wafer carrier cleaning and conditioning tools, is a key catalyst for industry participants.

Complex Process Driving Demand: The requirement for faster, more powerful and energy-efficient semiconductors is expected to increase rapidly with the robust adoption of cloud computing, IoT and AI. Semiconductor manufacturers like Intel, Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductors are primarily looking to maximize manufacturing yields at lower costs. This is making semiconductor manufacturing processes more complex and driving the demand for solutions offered by industry participants. The rapid adoption of IoT-supported factory automation solutions is another contributing factor. The increasing deployment of 5G and the growing demand for edge computing are other key catalysts.

NAND, DRAM & SSD Demand Strong: The improving demand for NAND and DRAM is a positive for the industry participants. Strong SSD demand, driven by data center and cloud spending, is another key catalyst. DRAM is expected to benefit from strong demand in the data center, enterprise and cloud segments. Strong demand for chips and higher spending on semiconductor capital equipment are aiding the industry participants.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Dim Prospects

The Zacks Electronics - Manufacturing Machinery industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #188, which places it in the bottom 25% of more than 250 Zacks industries.

The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates dim near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than two to one.

Despite the dim industry outlook, a few stocks are worth watching. However, before we present the stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.

Industry Lags Sector And S&P 500

The Zacks Electronics - Manufacturing Machinery industry has underperformed the broader Zacks Computer and Technology sector and the S&P 500 composite over the past year.

The industry has returned 26.1% over this period compared with the S&P 500’s growth of 27.1% and the broader sector’s increase of 39.7%.

One-Year Price Performance

Industry's Current Valuation

On the basis of the trailing 12-month EV/EBITDA ratio, which is a commonly used multiple for valuing Electronics - Manufacturing Machinery companies, we see that the industry is trading at 9.71X compared with the S&P 500’s 14.4X. It is below the sector’s trailing 12-month EV/EBITDA of 13.75X.

Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 18.37X and as low as 7.89X, with the median being 12.32X, as the charts below show.

EV/EBITDA Ratio (TTM)

 

 

 

 

2 Electronics Stocks to Watch Right Now

Entegris: This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company is a leading supplier of advanced materials and process solutions for the semiconductor and other high-technology industries. It is riding on a growing recurring revenue base. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Expanding manufacturing capacity in Taiwan and Colorado bodes well for ENTG. It expects to benefit from a healthy semiconductor market with normalizing inventories and a stable demand environment.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ENTG’s 2024 earnings has increased by 0.9% to $3.30 per share over the past 30 days. Shares have returned 8.7% year to date.

Price and Consensus: ENTG

 

Kulicke and Soffa: This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock is benefiting from the strong adoption of Thermocompression, VFO and Advanced Dispense solutions. KLIC expects demand across memory applications to continue to recover over the upcoming quarters.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Kulicke and Soffa’s 2024 earnings has declined from $1.69 to 54 cents per share over the past 30 days. Shares have declined 11.8% year to date.

Price and Consensus: KLIC

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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