Rising demand for chips in 2013 should give a much-needed boost to this U.S. stock.
I'm talking about the flagging stock of semiconductor equipment manufacturer Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT).
Investors have been down on AMAT lately.
Applied Materials lowered its guidance for the year just last week, acknowledging concerns over a decline in technology spending. Such worries had already dinged the stock, which had fallen from a 2012 high of $13.21 on Feb. 16 to about $11 July 09.
Since the company announced its profits for the year would come in at 15 to 20 cents per share lower than previous projections, AMAT has slumped further to around $10.39.
But given the company's financial strength, solid position in its market and signs of a turnaround in chip demand for 2013, this pullback could represent a buying opportunity.
"[Applied Materials] is the biggest player in the industry, and it's got a deep and well-established economic moat," writes Jonas Elmerraji of The Street. "That means that once the semiconductor waiting game is over, AMAT should be able to deliver impressive numbers once again."
Santa Clara, CA-based Applied Materials makes most of its money from selling semiconductor chip-making equipment to foundries like Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (NYSE ADR: TSM).
Those companies sell chips to the companies that make the computer, tablets, smartphones and other electronic gear, such as Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Samsung Electronics Co. (PINK: SSNLF).
Applied Materials also sells equipment for the manufacturing of solar panels and LCDs, though both of those divisions are significantly smaller than the semiconductor division. Still, the troubles of the solar industry over the past year also have stung AMAT.
But as often happens, it's when things look most glum that investors need to pay closer attention.