Qualcomm, Inc (QCOM) Posts Disappointing Earnings Forecast: What Analysts Are Saying

Shares of Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) fell in after-hours trading on July 22. Although the semiconductor maker beat earnings estimates, the company posted a weak outlook for the fiscal third-quarter. Qualcomm shares, down 21% over the last year, saw another 2% drop after closing down 95 cents at $64.19 on July 22.

The company, which had one of the best playbooks in tech, displayed lower earnings, and, under pressure from Wall Street, announced its plan to implement an “aggressive” cost-cutting program to reduce annual costs from its 2015 levels of $7.3 billion. The company told investors that the cost-cutting efforts are expected to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2016.

Specifically, the company would cut about 15 percent of its staff, wiping out almost 5,000 employees and $1.4 billion in costs. Qualcomm also announced it would consider restructuring its operations and changes to its board and executive compensation.

CEO Steve Mollenkopf commented, “We are making fundamental changes to position Qualcomm for improved execution, financial and operating performance.” He continues, “We are right-sizing our cost structure and focusing our investments around the highest return opportunities while reaffirming our intent to return significant capital to stockholders and refreshing our board of directors.”

A handful of Wall Street analysts have weighed in on Qualcomm in light of the earnings forecast and announcement.

On July 23, Mike Burton of Brean Capital reiterated a Buy rating while lowering his price target to $72 from $80. The analyst argues that while QCOM did report an earnings beat, the company “guided September well-below consensus.”

Burton  states, “We are adjusting our estimates downward to account for the lowered guidance and reducing our target price commensurately.” He continues, “While headwinds are strong, we do continue to like QCOM’s prospects as 1) CA Uplink will likely drive QCOM market share gains starting in the 2H and 2) QCOM’s realignment program does add upside to QCOM’s FY16 earnings.”

When measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark, Mike Burton has an overall success rate of 62% recommending stocks, earning a +18.8% average return per recommendation.

On July 22, Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley also reiterated a Buy rating while lowering his price target to $75 from $77. The analyst notes that Qualcomm’s “significant capital returns program combined with the stock’s current valuation is attractive for longer-term value investors.”

Walkley states, “Q4/F15 and overall F2015 guidance was below our expectations due to QCT negatively impacted by stronger share in the high-end smartphone market for Apple.” However, Walkley continues that he anticipates “gradually recovering earnings growth in F2016 primarily [from] the announced $1.4B cost savings program, improved QTL licensing collections from Chinese OEMs with the potential for catch-up payments, and a lower share count.”

When measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark, Michael Walkley has an overall success rate of 66% recommending stocks, earning a +21.8% average return per recommendation.

Out of 13 analysts polled by TipRanks, 13 analysts are bullish on QCOM, 5 are neutral, and 1 is bearish. The average 12-month price target for QCOMM is $72.25, marking a 17.16% potential upside from where stock is currently trading. On average, the all-analyst consensus for QCOM is a Hold.

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