Has AMD Become the Perfect Stock?
Every investor would love to stumble upon the perfect stock. But will you ever really find a stock that provides everything you could possibly want?
One thing's for sure: You'll never discover truly great investments unless you actively look for them. Let's discuss the ideal qualities of a perfect stock, then decide if Advanced Micro Devices fits the bill.
The quest for perfection
Stocks that look great based on one factor may prove horrible elsewhere, making due diligence a crucial part of your investing research. The best stocks excel in many different areas, including these important factors:
- Growth. Expanding businesses show healthy revenue growth. While past growth is no guarantee that revenue will keep rising, it's certainly a better sign than a stagnant top line.
- Margins. Higher sales mean nothing if a company can't produce profits from them. Strong margins ensure that company can turn revenue into profit.
- Balance sheet. At debt-laden companies, banks and bondholders compete with shareholders for management's attention. Companies with strong balance sheets don't have to worry about the distraction of debt.
- Money-making opportunities. Return on equity helps measure how well a company is finding opportunities to turn its resources into profitable business endeavors.
- Valuation. You can't afford to pay too much for even the best companies. By using normalized figures, you can see how a stock's simple earnings multiple fits into a longer-term context.
- Dividends. For tangible proof of profits, a check to shareholders every three months can't be beat. Companies with solid dividends and strong commitments to increasing payouts treat shareholders well.
With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at AMD.
What We Want to See
Pass or Fail?
5-year annual revenue growth > 15%
1-year revenue growth > 12%
Gross margin > 35%
Net margin > 15%
Debt to equity < 50%
Current ratio > 1.3
Return on equity > 15%
Normalized P/E < 20
Current yield > 2%
5-year dividend growth > 10%
2 out of 9
Since we looked at AMD last year, the company has dropped two points, as the company has gone from a profit to a substantial loss. The stock has also performed horribly, having lost more than 60% of its value in the past year.
Right now, AMD is suffering from the worst of two different worlds. On one hand, it hasn't succeeded in providing a serious challenge to Intel in its core PC market. Yet at that the same time, it also hasn't managed to find a substantial niche in the mobile-chip market, as intense competition there threatens to leave it behind in the tablet and smartphone space.
As a result, AMD has had to resort to extreme measures to produce cash. Last month, the company did a sale-and-leaseback deal to free up $164 million in cash from its Texas business campus.
How AMD plans to turn itself around is still a mystery at this point. Last week, AMD vice president Roy Taylor suggested that having its chips in the latest versions of gaming consoles could spark a renewal for the company, but as Fool contributor Alex Planes noted yesterday, it's highly uncertain that those consoles will themselves be successful enough to drive AMD higher. Still, investors seem to be clinging to that hope, as the stock jumped 13% on Monday after reports that Microsoft would use AMD chips in its new Xbox console, which would be a reversal from the company's previous use of Intel architecture.
In order to improve, AMD needs to find a more substantial financial lifeline and work to find a viable segment of the chip market in which to survive. Otherwise, AMD's move away from perfection is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
No stock is a sure thing, but some stocks are a lot closer to perfect than others. By looking for the perfect stock, you'll go a long way toward improving your investing prowess and learning how to separate out the best investments from the rest.
AMD knows all too well that when it comes to dominating markets, it doesn't get much better than Intel's position in the PC microprocessor arena. However, that market is maturing, and Intel finds itself in a precarious situation longer term if it doesn't find new avenues for growth. In this premium research report on Intel, our analyst runs through all of the key topics investors should understand about the chip giant. Click here now to learn more.
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The article Has AMD Become the Perfect Stock? originally appeared on Fool.com.Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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