4 Tech Stocks Riding the iPad Wave: Strategist

The new iPad is displayed during an Apple product launch event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 7, 2012 in San Francisco, Ca.
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The new iPad is displayed during an Apple product launch event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 7, 2012 in San Francisco, Ca.

Apple isn’t the only company cashing in on the new iPad’s sales. A select group of technology companies who help build Apple products are well poised for their own pop, says Stephanie Link, director of research and vice president of strategy at TheStreet.com.

According to Link, the major beneficiaries are Broadcom, Skyworks Solutions, Samsung, and Qualcomm.

“These stocks are up quite a bit. It’s a validation of each company and their technologies, and they’re going to ride the wave,” said Link.

The wave looks a bit like this: iPad unit sales are growing 40 percent this year, while the iPhone is growing 38 percent.

“Over time, I think you’re going to see an increase in content per tablet and per phone, so margins will go up for these companies,” she added.

That said, these companies each contribute different parts and services to Apple, and are thus likely to perform quite differently.

For example, Link is more bullish on chipmaker Broadcom than Qualcomm .

“Broadcom is cheaper number one, they’re trading at 12 times earnings," she said. This compares with a 17 times multiple for Qualcomm’s forward-looking earnings.

A good track record is also helping Broadcom, Link said. “They’ve been in all the iPad versions. I think they’ll have solid double-digit growth this year," she added.

Some of Link’s picks have had a harder time getting past Apple’s velvet rope — and staying there.

“Skyworks Solutions was kicked out of the iPhone 4. But they’re back in, and they got into the iPad because they offer amplifiers. If you have more data, you need more power, more amp” she explained.

Link also likes Skyworks Solutions because of speculation that it’s getting into the iPhone 5, which is expected to launch the second half of this year.

Third on Link’s list is actually an Apple competitor in the tablet space. She likes Samsung, because it manufactures the iPad screen, and made it easier on the eyes.

“They definitely benefit from the iPad,” said Link.

She also flagsCirrus Logic, which makes iPad sound — though not as a “buy,” but as a “sell.”

“This is the one I would sell into strength, which is a little controversial because 53 percent of their revenues are Apple, and will probably grow to 70 or 80 percent of by end of 2012,” she said. “To me, that’s just too much risk.”

To lower risk, Link recommends a diversified basket of the other iPad makers, whose exposure (i.e. revenue dependence) varies widely.

“I’d prefer a basket with Skyworks, which is very volatile with 20 percent of revenues from Apple; Qualcomm, which is a little more defensive with 10 percent Apple exposure; and then Broadcom, with 13 percent.”

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Stephanie Link does not personally own the aforementioned stocks. However, TheStreet holds shares in Broadcom.