The iPhone Play That the Market Forgot

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You've seen the Apple (NAS: AAPL) iPhone lifting component suppliers to new heights. You've also seen it crushing stocks that didn't quite make the cut. The hottest handset on the market has the power to give life -- or to take it away.

For some reason, power chip designer Avago Technologies (NAS: AVGO) has missed out on the life-giving effects of being a major iPhone 4S supplier. I don't think that's right, which is why you'll see me making a bullish CAPScall on the stock in just a minute.

When IHS iSuppli ripped apart one of the sleek handsets, the analyst firm was surprised to find a single Avago chip taking the place of three products from Skyworks Solutions (NAS: SWKS) and TriQuint Semiconductor (NAS: TQNT) .

"Avago's ACPM-7181 is a unique and valuable part in the iPhone 4S wireless subsystem," iSuppli said. That design win should catapult Avago into first-tier status with a bevy of design wins, the analyst noted. Skyworks, RF Micro Devices (NAS: RFMD) , and TriQuint suddenly had a brand-new rival to contend with in the market for mobile power amplification.

Yet Avago shares slid 15% from that teardown report into last night's earnings release, even as iPhone sales went through the roof. Fourth-quarter sales and earnings topped analyst estimates, explicitly helped by that power amp in the iPhone.

"This performance was stronger than our expectations for the quarter," said CEO Hock Tan. "Growth in Q4 was driven largely by strength in our power amplifier business driven by the launch of new smartphones."

Thanks to this unqualified success, Avago plans to expand manufacturing capacity in Colorado. These chips are also very profitable, so selling more of them will be good for gross margins.

The stock jumped a modest 5% on this report, but I see a lot more promise than that. Avago is expanding into a margin-boosting new market with a top-notch product and on the back of Apple's impressive coattails.

So I'm putting my CAPS rating where my mouth is with a big, green thumbs-up CAPScall on Avago. This stock should beat the market handily as the impact of Avago's Apple moves becomes clear to investors and analysts. Check out my other CAPS picks right here.

Find out more about Apple's stock-boosting powers in this free report on hidden winners of the iPhone and iPad.

At the time this article was published

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