Don't Buy Now; Get This Stock at a Discount in October

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So Texas Instruments (NYS: TXN) reported earnings the other day and nobody noticed. Earnings reactions included or not, the stock has hardly moved for a month or so.

The lack of drastic market action should come as no surprise. After all, few companies are as diligent as TI when it comes to keeping investors updated on how its business is doing. The last mid-quarter update was pretty gloomy although management explained away the immediate 5% drop in the ensuing conference call. But that Band-Aid didn't last, and TI shares had fallen back to that 5% lower level in advance of the full earnings report.

The second-quarter results actually managed to surprise the Street in spite of the torrential status updates. Sales are still suffering from the disasters in Japan, and strong sales to wireless infrastructure customers such as LM Ericsson (NAS: ERIC) and Motorola Solutions (NYS: MSI) just barely made up for steep declines on the handset side of the wireless equation. But it was good enough to take analysts by surprise. Earnings per share fell 10% year over year to $0.56 on essentially flat revenue, above consensus estimates on both counts.

What's worse, TI then issued revenue and earnings guidance with midpoints significantly below the current Street tenor. And the market just shrugged and moved on. Perhaps we'll see another long, slow descent here, like the one that led into this week's report.

The bears see weakness stretching into the fall. Nomura Securities re-upped its sell rating and $26 price target, noting that there might be more guidance cuts up ahead. Even bulls like Needham, with a buy rating and $38 target, see a second half below the normal seasonal trends.

The faster TI can close the National Semiconductor (NYS: NSM) acquisition and leverage it to take some market share from National rivals Analog Devices (NYS: ADI) and Maxim Integrated Products (NAS: MXIM) , the better. That's a key strategic add-on with tremendous value but remains held up in regulatory reviews. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Until then, I think Texas Instruments shares will remain affordable, particularly as relative newcomers to the mobile processing scene such as NVIDIA (NAS: NVDA) loom ever larger on TI's threat-o-meter. This is another one of those stocks you certainly could buy now and feel great about in a year or two, but that probably will go even lower before turning back up.

The best course of action for a stock like that is to keep a close watch on it until conditions are improving -- nobody wants to grab a falling knife by the blade. Just click here to add Texas Instruments to your watchlist, and we'll take it from there. That opens up a steady stream of news and Foolish analysis on TI, or any other stock you'd like to follow.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorAnders Bylundholds no position in any of the companies discussed here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Texas Instruments.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of NVIDIA.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended writing puts in NVIDIA. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. You can check outAnders' holdings and a concise bio, follow him onTwitterorGoogle+, or peruseour Foolish disclosure policy.

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