The semiconductor capital equipment sector has been on fire lately as chip and display manufacturers upgrade their factories to make the latest technologies.
IBD’s Electronics-Semiconductor Equipment industry group now ranks No. 5 out of 197 industry groups in terms of stock market performance. It has been in the top five industry groups for at least the last 13 weeks.
On Friday, two chip-gear makers earned stock price-target increases from investment bank Needham.
Needham analyst Edwin Mok reiterated his buy ratings on Lam Research (LRCX) and Axcelis Technologies (ACLS). He raised his price target on Lam to 175 from 165 and upped his target on Axcelis to 27 from 23.
Lam shares closed down 0.2% at 148.21 on the stock market today. Axcelis jumped 3.7% to 23.55.
Lam is one of three makers of chip gear on the IBD 50 list of top-performing growth stocks. The others are Applied Materials (AMAT) and Ichor Holdings (ICHR).
Mok raised his price target on Lam to reflect an improved outlook for the second half of 2017 and for a “strong” 2018.
“While our model is currently above consensus estimates, we see further upside to our calendar second-half 2017 and calendar 2018 estimates supported by a robust spending environment,” Mok said in a note to clients.
Lam is benefiting from artificial intelligence systems in data centers, which are big users of DRAM and Nand memory chips. Lam has a robust business selling equipment to memory-chip makers, Mok said.
In a separate report, Mok said Axcelis has strong fundamentals and momentum in sales of systems for memory and logic chip production.