Should You Buy In to Qualcomm's Latest Earnings Spectacle?

Should You Buy In to Qualcomm's Latest Earnings Spectacle?

When it comes to presenting for shareholders, leave it to Qualcomm to be anything but subtle. The wireless technology business recently announced its latest quarterly earnings, and besides unveiling many growing financial metrics, CEO Paul Jacobs revealed a couple of new products that seemed designed to delight tech geeks everywhere. Wall Street, however, appeared a bit nonplussed by the latest display. Could this be a sign to buy, or is Qualcomm relying on smoke and mirrors?

Cashing it in
It's hard to deny the finance stats on Qualcomm's latest earnings call. Jacobs explained that since 2005 (when he took over the Qualcomm reins from former CEO William Keitel), the company's market cap has doubled, overall revenue has quadrupled, and EPS has tripled.

This quarter, Qualcomm reported a revenue jump of 33% on a year-over-year basis, to $6.48 billion. The tech company has also done a solid job retaining those sales, despite admitting to heavily investing in R&D. Qualcomm held on to $1.59 billion in its operating income (a 33% year-over-year increase), as well as $1.5 billion in net income, or an 18% year-over-year improvement. Additionally, the company is no stranger to giving back to its stockholders, as Qualcomm bought back $3.32 billion worth of shares and paid $592 million in dividends.

Markets to expand and devices to dazzle
Not content to rest on its recent laurels, Qualcomm has set its sights on unveiling new products (like a mind-boggling new Snapdragon chip that turns a smartphone's video into immersive 3-D virtual-reality) and expanding in hugely promising markets, like China.

Jacobs stated that by 2017, 90% of handsets in China are expected to be smartphones, which would make it the No. 1 smartphone country in the world. While acknowledging that there's "a lot of roadmap ahead" that is guaranteed to be wrought with fierce wireless competition, Qualcomm has already passed $1 billion in sales to this emerging market. Getting its foot in the door before growth really takes off in China could lead to a huge return.

The why of Wall Street
With all these recent positives to Qualcomm's name, you'd think the market would have reacted more excitedly. The most likely reason? Even though Qualcomm beat analyst expectations on revenue, raking in $6.48 billion compared to previously projected figures of $6.34 billion, the company didn't quite measure up when it came to earnings per share. Instead of the estimated $1.08 per share, Qualcomm fell short by just three cents, sending the total to $1.05 per share.

Not that a 3.7% drop is much to write home about, or that it took a while for Qualcomm to recover. By Nov. 22, the company's stock had risen to $72.96, a new year-to-date high.

To buy or not to buy
After this successful earnings call, it seems there's plenty of room for an already established tech giant to go even further. If Wall Street decides to repeat its fickle temptress act soon and send its stock down, don't panic. Just take a minute to reflect, and if it doesn't appear to be based on anything, Qualcomm can't quickly bounce back from, that dip could be a great opportunity to snatch up this stock at a relative bargain.

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Fool contributor Caroline Bennett has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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