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Qualcomm extends Apple, Samsung deals, stock up on AI growth

Qualcomm stock price outlook

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) bounced off its 50-day moving average and rallied for three sessions in a row after beating earnings estimates for its fiscal first quarter. Among technology stocks, Qualcomm still lags others in the sector in the past five sessions, although the moving-average support is a bullish sign. 

Qualcomm hadn’t previously been among the chipmakers associated with AI applications but appears to be changing. Qualcomm made its mark by designing chips for smartphones, where AI applications are driving new growth for the company. 

Take a look at the Qualcomm earnings data: The chipmaker beat net income forecasts by 14 cents a share, and topped revenue forecasts by about $80 million.

Qualcomm guided toward revenue in a range of  $8.9 billion to $9.7 billion and earnings per share between $2.20 and $2.40. That’s essentially even with Wall Street revenue views, and slightly above forecasts on the earnings side

Chipset revenue up on Android demand

In the earnings conference call, CEO Christiano Amon said revenue from the company’s chipset business reached $8.4 billion, reflecting healthy demand for Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Android products and continued strong momentum in automotive.

He also cited the on-device AI features for the Samsung Galaxy S24 devices, which run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon system. Snapdragon is a line of system-on-a-chip technologies designed for smartphones.

The Galaxy AI features include language translation and interpretation, and chat assist. 

“This marks the beginning of how gen AI will evolve the overall smartphone experience and highlights the significant opportunity for the Snapdragon platform,” Amon said. 

Even as AI becomes a more important part of the Qualcomm product portfolio, smartphones remain at the core. 

Extended deals with Samsung, Apple

Qualcomm extended its multiyear agreement with Samsung for the Snapdragon platform. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) extended its licensing agreement for another two years, and Qualcomm renewed long-term agreements with two significant Chinese smartphone manufacturers.

Automotive continues to be an important pillar of the company’s growth and diversification strategy. Amon said 75 new automobile models were launched commercially in 2023 with Qualcomm technologies. As you might imagine, many of the features in new cars, such as connected services and driver assist, also run on AI. 

In the earnings call, the company emphasized AI for mobile devices to signal that Qualcomm chips are increasingly enabled for image generators, chatbots and other AI applications more common to smartphones than hyperscalers’ data centers. 

But as enterprise AI remains a huge driver of AI chip sales, Qualcomm has made sure to get a piece of the pie.

Expanding enterprise-level AI 

Amon said one key area of the company’s focus has been generative AI at the enterprise level. 

As an example, he cited Zebra Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: ZBRA) and Toshiba demonstrating on-device generative AI capabilities for enterprise workflows and inventory management at retail self-checkout, respectively. 

Additionally, Honeywell International Inc. (NASDAQ: HON) rolled out Qualcomm-powered AI gear for warehouse applications.

One reason the report didn’t send Qualcomm stock off to the races: Even as the company extended its deal with Chinese manufacturers, analysts questioned the current-quarter guidance. 

Further, Samik Chatterjee of JPMorgan Chase asked whether the re-emergence of Chinese tech giant Huawei, which faced controversy due to security concerns and allegations of espionage and privacy breaches.

Qualcomm CEO Akash Palkhiwala said the company believes the Android sales channel has normalized, after weakness in 2023. He added that Qualcomm saw higher demand in China handsets “due to the acceleration of Android flagship launches with our new chip, Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.”

Huawei spurring Android sales

He added that demand was strong from all major Android manufacturers, 

Regarding Huawei, Palkhiwala said Qualcomm has seen strong demand after Huawei’s 5G launch in China. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are used in Huawei devices, such as the Huawei watch, which runs on the Android platform. 

Qualcomm analyst forecasts show a consensus view of “moderate buy” on the stock, with a price target of $148.71, an upside of 3.20%.

Analyst actions were mixed following the report. Five analysts boosted their price targets, while two downgraded the stock or lowered the price target.

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