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Cowen downgrades chip stock Qorvo as demand for smartphone slows

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Falling smartphone demand will pressure revenues, margins and sentiment for semiconductor company Qorvo , according to Cowen. Analyst Matthew Ramsay downgraded shares of Qorvo to market perform from outperform, saying in Sunday note that weakening demand for lower- and mid-tier Androids, particularly in China, is pushing the firm’s near-term estimates below consensus. “We rate Qorvo Market Perform, as softening handset demand likely leads to weaker than expected sell-through rates and inventory draw-downs at key customers Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi,” Ramsay wrote. Cowen also cut the price target by 28%, to $108 from $150. The new price target is about 9% above where shares closed Friday. The stock declined more than 2% in Monday premarket trading. Shares of Qorvo will face greater pressure, even after falling 50% off recent highs, as the smartphone market continues to weaken. Cowen expects that demand for smartphones will decline 6% and 2% in calendar years 2022 and 2023, respectively. It previously expected growth of 1% and 2%. “In our view, risk skews to the downside and depending on the magnitude of inventory draw-downs, we see risk that Mobile Products could in fact be down Q/Q in a typically a stronger seasonal quarter,” Ramsay wrote. For fiscal year 2023, Cowen lowered its revenue and profit estimates to $4.2 billion and $9.22 per share, respectively, which is down from $4.35 billion and $9.62 per share previously. For fiscal year 2024, revenue estimates were lowered to $4.8 billion from $5 billion; earnings per share estimates came down to $12 from $12.50. Cowen thinks Qorvo will continue to benefit from broader growth trends in 5G technology, but added that it sees “the 5G adoption cycle taking a pause into C2023 as broader macro pressures negatively affect consumer sentiment.” –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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