Editorials

Hot Markets: WiMax, Warm Whites & “lexel”

WiMax apps appear to be driving the compound semi (CS) communications
sector these days, while warm white light and “lexel” technology appear
to be catching on in the fledging field of solid state lighting (SSL). The only
thing down this month are the price tags of USA publicly held stocks. Along
with virtually all their big brother stocks in the overall tech sector, the
model CS/SSL stock portfolio dipped in May from a healthy November to April run-up.

My CS/SSL model stock portfolio now includes 14 companies representative of
the fields we cover in these pages. Virtually all stocks traded over
USA exchanges dropped from 3 to 7% during the last month. In late March, my model
CS/SSL stock portfolio was hitting remarkable heights of a 60% rise in value
(ref: March
20th McD Report
… but it’s hard to pick “the benchmark”, given the bubble-burst from the point where many of them were trading in double digits six years ago and are trading at single
digits now
). The last few days have seen an upturn, so maybe it’s going to be one of those exciting summers.

Macroeconomics aside, the star performer in the portfolio remains the steadfast and relentless Cree (Nasdaq symbol, “CREE”), which continues to perform as my poster-child company by leading
in both the CS and SSL industries. But does the company’s stock performance reflect the real
story of Cree’s progress and contributions? Far from it. Cree was one of the first I selected when forming the model
portfolio one year ago because it’s one of my all-time favorite companies. Buying in
a year ago at what I thought was a reasonably low of $25/share. (At least compared to the triple-digit peak of the bubble). By mid April, the price
had made a 6-month run from 25 to 35 and then promptly plopped back to 25. The (hopefully short-lived) panic made for some attractive buying opportunities for those that believe. Would that I could afford more than the representative 100 shares…

It’s important to keep in mind that the drop was totally unrelated to the company’s
performance as Cree continues to be a top contributor in all their wide bandgap
(WBG) substrate and device pursuits. Take their strides in the WiMAX
space, for example, which is turning out to the hot app area currently driving
excitement in the nitride/electronics community. The WiMAX standard is
playing a major role in a movie that could be titled The Unwired World: Part
3
, featuring cellphones, wireless LAN in the house/coffee shop, next wireless
(real, 1+Mbit) Internet Everywhere. Without much excitement happening in the telecom
stocks, too many trade publications have paid such sparse attention to WiMAX
that I actually had to go back and look up what it stands for, and who’s driving
what. Cree’s recent release of a new GaN HEMT power amp for WiMAX transistor
options was the wake up call. Ref:
Cree news release
and our
coverage
.

WiMAX stands for World Interoperability for Microwave
Access, Inc. The lower case “i” is clever, but then everyone’s
playing with combos in lower case as editors boycott anything in all caps. According
to the WiMax Forum website, www.wimaxforum.org,
WiMAX is a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile
wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL, providing fixed,
nomadic, portable and, eventually, mobile wireless broadband connectivity without
the need for direct line-of-sight with a base station. WiMAX technology
will be incorporated in notebook computers and PDAs by 2007, allowing for urban
areas and cities to become

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