Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) came in tenth on our list of top ten tech stocks loved by hedge funds (see all 10 here). Despite having a market value in excess of $100 billion, Qualcomm still has solid growth prospects. The semiconductor company is being driven by a solid increase in demand for high-end smartphones and tablets. Qualcomm reported solid results last quarter and management provided a strong outlook for 2013 based on the rapid transition from 2G to 3G in China and India. The Wireless Intelligence Report expects over 1.5 billion subscribers to be added to 3G networks in the next two years.
Another driving factor will be the adoption of LTE networks in developed nations, including the rapid adoption of LTE in the U.S. Qualcomm is also battling with Intel to become a key supplier for Apple’s future iPhone iterations. Intel has primarily been the driving force behind the tech that supports Apple’s smartphone, but Qualcomm’s new platform has been taking market share from one of its biggest rivals. Billionaire Ken Fisher of Fisher Asset Management is one of Qualcomm’s top fund owners (check out Ken Fisher's new picks).
Qualcomm’s latest quarterly results showed the tech company shipped over 140 million MSM chipsets, which is up 11% year over year. Qualcomm’s newest platform, Snapdragon, is already seeing industry-leading growth. Qualcomm estimates some 420 different devices are using Snapdragon already, and another 400 models are in the pipeline. Our thesis on Qualcomm remains that it is one of the best ‘growth at a reasonable price’ opportunities in the industry (check out our analysis).
Texas Instruments Incorporated (NASDAQ:TXN) is nearly a third of the size of Qualcomm as measured by market-cap, but has the lowest growth rate among our semiconductor stocks listed, with a five-year expected earnings growth of only 2% annually. Where Texas Instruments falls short in growth it makes up in dividend. The tech company pays a 2.7% yield with only a 25% payout. We still remain cautious since Texas' valuation is on the high end – forward P/E of 17x – and it has the highest debt-to-equity ratio by far at 50%. Many top-name billionaires fell out of love with Texas Instruments during the third quarter including Jim Simons, Ken Fisher and Ray Dalio (see Ray Dalio's top bets here).