A: Babe Ruth, the legend goes, once pointed to the bleachers before slamming a home run. Joe Namath guaranteed a Super Bowl victory.
"There's no reason why" Advanced Micro Devices can't have 40 percent of the global server market by 2009, AMD commercial vice president Marty Seyer recently declared.
Fulfilling that bold statement by Seyer at the opening of a new Shanghai research and development plant would represent a significant jump from the firm's current level of around 20 percent.
Seyer's bullishness comes as shares of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) are down 19 percent this year. Compare that to gains of 39 percent last year, 48 percent in 2004 and 131 percent in 2003.
There certainly are positives for this rough-and-ready No. 2 chipmaker that has shown leader Intel Corp. a thing or two.
For example, IBM Corp. recently expanded its lineup of energy-efficient AMD-based servers. Dell Inc. has increased its use of AMD microprocessors in servers and desktop PCs. AMD also introduced an improved version of its Opteron chip, which, like Intel's new Xeon chip, employs circuitry from two microprocessors on one piece of silicon.
But while AMD has enjoyed its resurgence, sales in its most recent quarter still fell short of targets.
Consensus Wall Street rating of AMD stock therefore is a "hold," according to Thomson Financial, consisting of four "strong buys," four "buys," 23 "holds," one "sell" and one "strong sell."
The knottiest problem is that Intel has engaged it in a costly price war while introducing numerous competitive chips.
Intel's latest restructuring, which targets 10,500 jobs and $3 billion in annual savings by 2008, could make it a still tougher competitor.
Although AMD's $5.4 billion acquisition of the Canadian graphics chip-maker ATI Technologies Inc., scheduled to be completed by November, is a fine long-term strategic move, it's a lot to swallow. ATI also loses major client Intel as a result of the deal.
AMD earnings are expected to increase 76 percent this year compared to the 14 percent increase forecast for the semiconductor industry. Next year's predicted rise is 21 percent versus 19 percent projected industrywide. Its five-year annualized return of 15 percent is in line with its peers.
Roughly 80 percent of AMD sales are international.
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A: This diversified fund has grown larger than the former planet Pluto.
It wouldn't have grown rapidly to become the largest mutual fund of all with $143 billion in assets if it didn't have something going for it.
Performance has been hard to beat and many financial advisers understandably recommend it to clients.