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Chip stocks rebound led by Micron after US grants temporary relief for Huawei suppliers

Key Points
  • The Commerce Department grants a 90-day license for mobile phone companies and internet broadband providers to work with Huawei.
  • The move made Google reverse its decision to cut ties with the Chinese telecom giant.
  • Semiconductor stocks posted big losses on Monday after the U.S. blacklisted Huawei and effectively halted its ability to buy American-made parts and components.
  • However, the relief rally may not last as Wall Street analysts expect chipmakers to have "immediate impact" if the ban is here to stay.
Visitors try out the Huawei Mate S smartphone.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Shares of chipmakers on Tuesday rebounded from a sell-off after the U.S. temporarily eased some trade restrictions on China's Huawei.

The Commerce Department said late Monday it granted a 90-day license for mobile phone companies and internet broadband providers to work with Huawei to keep existing networks online and protect users from security risks. The move made Google reverse its decision to cut ties with the Chinese telecom giant.

Semiconductor stocks posted big losses on Monday after the U.S. blacklisted Huawei and effectively halted its ability to buy American-made parts and components. Chipmaker giants including Qualcomm, Broadcom and Intel reportedly told employees they will not sell to the Chinese firm until further notice, which sparked a brutal sell-off in the sector since Huawei is a big customer of U.S. chips, buying $20 billion of semiconductors a year.

Micron jumped nearly 3% on Tuesday. Shares of Qualcomm rose 1.5% after losing 6% in the previous session, while shares of Broadcom gained 1% after dropping almost 6% on Monday.

Micron has had 13% of its sales from Huawei the past two quarters while Broadcom's exposure is in the mid-single digits, Morgan Stanley estimated.

However, the relief rally may not last as Wall Street analysts expect chipmakers to have "immediate impact" if the ban is here to stay.

"We would expect that many, if not most, semiconductor companies will need to lower estimates," Raymond James analyst Chris Caso said in a note on Tuesday. "Clearly, with a ban on shipping to Huawei in place, the immediate impact will be felt by those companies with significant exposure."

Those companies include Xilinx, Analog Devices, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, Qorvo and Skyworks Solutions, the analyst said.

Chipmaker Lumentum on Monday cut its fourth-quarter guidance after halting shipments to Huawei in the wake of the ban.

Piper Jaffray lowered the price target for Lumentum Holdings to $68 from $75, saying the Huawei sanction is a "significant near-term issue" for the company as the Chinese giant has represented 15% of total sales over the past nine months and 18% of sales in the March quarter.

"We expect most of the group with high Huawei exposure to negatively preannounce as well, and likely reduce 2H expectations, as if the ban remains in place there is no way of escaping this," Caso said.

— CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.