By Wallace Witkowski
Semiconductors stocks fell further with the broader market selloff Tuesday, and have been skating dangerously close to bear-market territory this week as U.S. chip makers are set to begin reporting holiday-season earnings.
The PHLX Semiconductor Index /zigman2/quotes/210598361/realtime SOX +1.35% was down as much as 4% to an intraday low of 3335.70 Tuesday, ahead of the first big semiconductor earnings report of the season after the bell. That low marks a 17.4% drop from the index’s 4039.51 closing high on Dec. 27; on Monday, before the broader market staged an epic rebound from a big selloff, the chip index was as much as 19.4% off that high.
In one hopeful sign, Texas Instruments Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202237907/composite TXN -0.12% on Tuesday following the close of markets, beat its own and Wall Street’s expectations and forecast a strong outlook. Shares were up more than 5% after hours.
Chip stocks have already suffered a correction, which signifies a 10% drop from recent highs, while a bear market is defined as a 20% drop from those highs. For the chip sector to slip into a bear market, the SOX index would have to drop below 3231.61.
In comparison, the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.04% on Tuesday was as much as 10.6% off its recent highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.97% was off as much as 16.5%.
With the world still struggling to emerge from a chip shortage sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic , the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday that inventories at manufacturers who use semiconductors are very low and could result in factory shutdowns .
In the meantime, the biggest drags on the sector are its largest names, all of which are firmly in bear territory. Intel Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203649727/composite INTC +0.33% , which is scheduled to report on Wednesday, is 25% off its April 9 closing of $68.26.
Nvidia Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200467500/composite NVDA +4.09% is 32% off its Nov. 29 closing high of $333.76, and shares of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208144392/composite AMD +3.88% are 31% off their closing high of $161.91 from the same day. AMD is scheduled to report earnings on Feb. 1, while Nvidia is estimated to report on Feb. 17.
Shares of Marvell Technology Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200053236/composite MRVL +2.02% are 25% off their Dec. 7 high of $91.51, with the company forecast to report around March 10. GlobalFoundries Inc. /zigman2/quotes/230483311/composite GFS +2.55% , which reports on Feb. 8, sees shares 31% off their $70.54 high from Nov. 29. The third-party foundry went public in October at $47 a share.
Close to bear territory are shares of Broadcom Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200646538/composite AVGO -3.03% , which are 19.3% off their Dec. 27 high of $674.28. The company estimated to report around March 17.
Chip makers that are not yet in bear territory include Texas Instruments, 12.4% off an Oct. 21 closing high of $201.29, and Qualcomm Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206679220/composite QCOM +1.62% , which is 11% off its Dec. 15 close of $189.28. Qualcomm is scheduled to report Feb. 2.
Shares of chip manufacturing equipment supplier Lam Research Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208077897/composite LRCX +1.03% are 18.2% off their Jan. 14 high of $729.82, while shares of KLA Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209248041/composite KLAC +2.76% are 15.1% off their Jan. 14 high of $445.00 on Thursday. Lam reports Wednesday and KLA Corp. reports Thursday.
Micron Technology Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205710729/composite MU +0.23% shares are 15.8% off their Jan. 14 high of $97.36, with an estimated earnings report around March 30.