"Shares of Qualcomm Inc., the best performer in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index this year,
surged 31 percent after PaineWebber Inc. analyst Walter Piecyk said he expects the stock to double within a year.
"Qualcomm, which developed the world's fastest-growing cell-phone technology, climbed 156 to 659. Today's rise was Qualcomm's third-biggest percentage gain ever. The stock of the San Diego-
based company has surged more than 25-fold this year.
"The company developed the code division multiple access, or CDMA, technology used by the wireless units of Bell Atlantic Corp. and Sprint Corp., among others. Piecyk estimated that by
the end of the next decade, 85 percent of new wireless phones will use CDMA, up from 18 percent today. That could bring in as much as $20 billion a year in royalties for Qualcomm, he said.
``While this royalty stream represents 20 percent of top-line growth in 2000, we estimate it represents 50 percent of Qualcomm's 2000 profit and is the key driver of growth,'' Piecyk
wrote in the report.
"Piecyk said Qualcomm sells more than 90 percent of the chips used in CDMA phones and collects royalties for all CDMA phones. The analyst initiated coverage with a ``buy'' rating and said he expects Qualcomm to rise to $1,000 in the next 12 months. His estimate isn't adjusted for tomorrow's 4-for-1 stock split.
"Last week, Qualcomm agreed to sell its money-losing phone-making business to Japan's Kyocera Corp. to concentrate on its more profitable chip-making business. Kyocera agreed to buy most
of its CDMA semiconductors and software from Qualcomm for the next five years.
"Qualcomm shares have rocketed this year on investor optimism
for increasing wireless phone usage, spurred by falling per-minute calling rates and new services like Internet access. The number of CDMA users worldwide rose to 41 million in September
from 16 million a year earlier.
``Make the investment today and hold onto it over a period of time,'' Piecyk said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
``We think that it will generate significantly higher returns than the market offers.''